Actress Sofia Vergara as been ordered to pay her ex-fiancé, Nicholas Loeb, nearly $80,000 in attorney’s fees and cost for their legal battle surrounding their frozen embryos.
The decision to order Vergara to pay Loeb exactly $79,392.26 within the next 30 days comes after a Louisiana judge ruled “that one cannot seek custody of an embryo under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act, a law that was enacted to resolve custody disputes over children of parents residing in different states,” E! News reports.
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Neither Loeb nor Vergara live in Louisiana. However, Loeb took the case to that particular state, where embryos do have rights.
In June 2019, Loeb initially asked for $117,590.87 in attorney fees and $2,958.26 in costs, citing that he was “successful in his anti-SLAPP motion as it related to a ‘malicious prosecution claim.'” According to BONALaw, anti-SLAPP motions “are meant to balance the rights of free speech and petition with the need to prevent the use of the court system to silence people’s exercise of those same rights.”
As the documents obtained by E! News revealed:
“The Court finds that there is no alternative method of calculating a fee award that would yield a more accurate or just result, and that a further reduction would be insufficient to compensate Defendant for the attorney’s fees and costs incurred in pursuing the anti-SLAPP motion.”
How Vergara and Loeb Got Into These Legal Disputes To Begin With
In 2014, Vergara, who has a son from a previous relationship, and Loeb broke off their engagement. However, a year earlier during their relationship, the couple discussed the possibility of starting a family together. So they began looking into in-vitro fertilization to help them make the family they had talked about reality.
At the beginning of the process, both Vergara and Loeb signed a contract that stated neither party could use the frozen embryos without the others expressed written consent, E! News reports. From there, two embryos were extracted and considered viable before they were put in cryogenic storage at the ART Reproductive Center in Beverly Hills, California.
Those embryos remain in that storage facility to this day. However, as E! News reports, after Vergara and Loeb broke off their engagement, Loeb began the process of legally obtaining full-custody of the embryos they created together in 2015.
At the time, he claimed he was seeking custody because Vergara wanted to destroy the embryos. This was a claim she has since denied, before bringing her own lawsuit against her ex saying Loeb’s fight for custody “violated their previous agreement.”
Roughly a year later, in 2016, after Vergara requested that Loeb “name two of his ex-girlfriends who terminated their own pregnancies more than two decades ago in order for the case to continue,” Loeb filed a right-to-live lawsuit in Louisana again Vergara.
The lawsuit requested that the embryos “be given to Loeb so that they can be given the chance to be implanted in a surrogate, possibly turn into babies and then receive a trust set up for them.” Since the lawsuit was created on behalf of the embryos, the embryos were considered the plaintiffs and thus given the names, Emma and Isabella.
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In 2017, a judge federal judge granted Vergara, who is now married to actor Joe Manganiello, motion to dismiss the case against her.
Loeb Says Battle With Vergara Has Led to His Latest Movie
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in 2018, Loeb says he is co-directing a non-fictional, albeit controversial, movie about Roe v. Wade. He said it was his legal battle with Vergara that put “him on the pro-life journey that led to him to reassess Roe v. Wade and then to write this movie.”
“Every time I learned a new fact, the more I thought this is something that people need to know.” It is unclear if the movie is still on track to be released following a slew of push back against the controversial film.
It also is unclear if this latest ruling in their ongoing legal battles will be the last the public hears about Vergara and Loeb.
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