LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Sofia Vergara should be allowed to testify during the upcoming trial of a lawsuit brought by her former fiance against the Beverly Hills reproductive center where the ex-couple had embryos created in anticipation of having a family, lawyers for the facility argue in new court papers.
“Ms. Vergara is expected to testify that both partners were in agreement that the unborn embryos should be disposed of in the event of a separation or death of one of the partners,” attorneys for ART Reproductive Services LLC state in court papers filed Monday in response to a motion by plaintiff Nick Loeb’s lawyers to exclude the former “Modern Family” star’s testimony.
In the negligence suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in June 2020, Loeb says he and Vergara began their relationship in 2010, became engaged in 2012 and subsequently started discussing plans to have a family. They agreed to create embryos at ART Reproductive Services LLC through in-vitro fertilization, according to his court papers.
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. However, ART did not provide Loeb and Vergara with the chance to decide what would happen to the embryos if the couple separated or if storage fees went unpaid, a violation of the state Health & Safety Code, according to Loeb.
ART attorneys have listed Vergara as a witness in their case, but in their court papers Loeb’s lawyers maintain the actress’ testimony would be irrelevant.
“In this case, (ART) failed to provide the partners with a form dealing with the disposition of the embryos in the event of a separation,” Loeb’s lawyers argue in their court papers. “There is no testimony that Ms. Vergara can give that would have a tendency to prove that the defendant provided this form and secured the partners’ signatures.”
Vergara’s testimony also would be “highly prejudicial” to Loeb, his lawyers further argue in their court papers.
“Ms. Vergara is a highly loved and well-known celebrity who has 26.8 million-plus followers on Instagram,” more than the states of Louisiana, Kentucky, Oregon, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Utah, Nevada, Iowa, Arkansas, Mississippi, Kansas, New Mexico, Idaho, Nebraska, West Virginia, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Maine, Montana, Rhode Island, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska and Washington D.C. combined,” Loeb’s attorneys state in their court papers.
But in their court papers, ART attorneys state that Vergara’s testimony “will have the tendency to prove that even if the partners were given documentation to evidence their choice of the disposition of the embryos in the event of a separation of the partners, the partners would have ultimately chosen to have embryos discarded and destroyed.”
Therefore, the embryos would have never been implanted regardless of documentation requirements, meaning Loeb has not been deprived of a meaningful parenthood of his unborn children as a result of anything done or not done by ART, the facility’s lawyers argue in their court papers.
The Loeb motion “does not attempt to identify any specific testimony of Ms. Vergara that should be excluded, rather just references the supposed prejudice Mr. Loeb will face from Ms. Vergara’s public adoration,” according to ART’s attorneys, who further state in their court papers that the time to object to the actress’ testimony is when it is actually offered by the defense during trial.
On Oct. 18, Judge Stephen I. Goorvitch is scheduled to hold a hearing on pretrial motions and also set a date for trial.
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.