LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A judge indicated Friday he is poised to dismiss a lawsuit by Sofia Vergara's former fiance, who filed a professional negligence suit against the Beverly Hills reproductive center where the ex-couple had embryos created in anticipation of having a family.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephen I. Goorvitch issued a tentative ruling, stating he was not convinced by Nick Loeb's argument that ART Reproductive Services LLC failed to comply with the state Health and Safety Code, which requires fertility treatment facilities to use a form that lists different options in the event of separation.
"The (ART dismissal) motion is granted because (Loeb) cannot demonstrate that defendant's lack of compliance ... caused his damages," according to the judge, who is scheduled to hear arguments Monday before issuing a final ruling.
In a sworn declaration previously submitted by Loeb, the pro-life actor and businessman says ART was obligated to provide him and Vergara with an advance written directive as to what would be done to the embryos in various circumstances, including if they ended their relationship. ART never showed the two such a form or had the appropriate discussion with them, according to Loeb.
"I never would have gone forward with creating what Sofia and I regarded as lives if I knew that she would not consent, or that she wanted to thaw and destroy the embryos, in the event of a breakup," Loeb says.
Loeb further says he believed Vergara shared his views about when life begins.
"I am pro-life and pro-parenthood and my religious views are such that I believe that life begins at conception," Loeb says. "Throughout the course of our relationship, I expressed these views to Sofia, who similarly expressed to me that she was a devout Catholic and therefore also believed that life begins at conception. She told me that she regarded embryos as `lives."'
Loeb says that although he did sign a form allowing for the embryos to be thawed and destroyed if he or Vergara died, he also signed a second document that contradicted those terms.
According to ART's lawyers' court papers, Loeb and Vergara underwent in vitro fertility treatments at the facility in 2013 that resulted in the creation of two pre-embryos that are "cryopreserved" at ART. Loeb and Vergara agreed in writing that one party could not use the material to create a child without the written consent of the other, according to ART's attorneys' court papers.
"It is undisputed that she (Vergara) will not consent," the judge said, adding that compliance with the Health and Safety Code would not relieve Loeb from the responsibility of obtaining Vergara's written permission before implanting the pre-embryos.
The judge referred in his tentative ruling the multiple previous lawsuits between Loeb and Vergara while also noting that Loeb maintains he has suffered emotional distress from the current case even though he filed it.
In the suit brought in June 2020, Loeb says that he and Vergara began their relationship in 2010, became engaged in 2012, started discussing plans to have a family and agreed to create embryos at ART.
After the first round of IVF, a surrogate mother was unable to produce a child with two embryos, so Loeb and Vergara consulted with ART about a second round of treatments in November 2013 that produced two more embryos, according to Loeb.
In one of the separate legal actions between Vergara and Loeb, the actress, now 50, sued Loeb in February 2016, seeking a court order declaring that any attempts by Loeb, now 47, to bring the embryos to term would be a breach of their original contract. Vergara won that case in February 2021.
Vergara and "True Blood" star Joe Manganiello, now 46, became engaged on Christmas Eve 2014 after dating for six months, and married in November 2015.