A judge has ruled in favour of Sofia Vergara in the actress’ long-running dispute with her former partner over frozen embryos.
The Modern Family actress and Nick Loeb ended their engagement in May 2014, the year after they underwent in-vitro fertilisation treatment together, and shortly after their split, the businessman had sought to gain full custody of the fertilised eggs to have them implanted in a surrogate.
In 2017, Vergara – who has an adult son named Manolo from a previous relationship and is married to Joe Manganiello – filed legal documents in an attempt to block Loeb from being able to use the embryos without her written consent and on Tuesday a court agreed to grant the 48-year-old actress a permanent injunction which would stop her former partner from being able to use the fertilised eggs to “create a child without the explicit written permission of the other person”.
Loeb, 45, accused the judge of being “influenced by Hollywood” when making the ruling.
He said in a statement obtained by People magazine: “[The judge] was clearly influenced by Hollywood, which is a pattern I expose in my upcoming film Roe v Wade.
“It’s sad that Sofia, a devout Catholic, would intentionally create babies just to kill them.”
According to court records, the former couple had signed a document at the fertility clinic where they were treated which stated both parties had to agree in order to do anything with the embryos.
Although Loeb had argued he signed the form under “duress”, the court ruled this week that the “Form Directive is not void or voidable based on Defendant Loeb’s duress defence as to its execution.”
The judge also found there was no “material fact” supporting his previous claim that he and Vergara had an “oral agreement” that would allow him to implant the embryos in a surrogate to be born.
As well as the dispute in California, Loeb had also attempted to gain custody of the embryos in Louisiana, having created a trust in the state to give the embryos legal status.
However, in January, the court sided with Vergara and dismissed the lawsuit seeking to obtain custody of the pre-embryos.
At the time, an attorney for the businessman said they would be appealing the case to the Louisiana Supreme Court.