A Louisiana court has ruled that it has no jurisdiction over the frozen embryo dispute between actor Sofia Vergara and her ex-fiance Nick Loeb, in a move that may end the two-year legal saga between the couple.
Federal Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon ruled that the court has no jurisdiction over the embryos since they had been conceived in California and that neither Vegara nor Loeb had any permanent ties to the state of Louisiana.
A 'right-to-life' claim had been filed against Vergara on behalf of the embryos, who were listed as plaintiffs and named Emma and Isabella in court documents. The claim also stated that Vergara's refusal to allow the embryos to be transferred to a surrogate had denied them of their expected inheritance (see BioNews 881).
Granting Vergara's request to dismiss the application, the judge wrote: 'Plaintiffs' claims against Vergara stem from the IVF procedure and related contracts that Vergara and Loeb entered into in California ...Conversations that allegedly occurred in Louisiana regarding the pre-embryos do not establish minimum contacts by Vergara of purposefully availing herself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum State, thus invoking the benefits and protections of its laws.'
According to TMZ, Judge Lemmon said that Loeb only filed the claim in Louisiana to take advantage of its pro-life laws. Louisiana is the only state that grants rights to embryos to sue or be sued.
Vergara has filed papers in California to block Loeb from taking control over the embryos, which reportedly remain frozen at a Los Angeles fertility clinic. It is not clear whether Loeb, who previously dropped a claim in California, intends to refile.