A judge has indicated he is poised to order Sofia Vergara’s former fiance — who sued the Beverly Hills reproductive center where the ex-couple had embryos created in anticipation of having a family — to answer further questions from the facility’s attorneys and pay a fine of more than $2,000.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephen Goorvitch issued a tentative ruling Friday saying he is leaning toward granting a motion by attorneys for ART Reproductive Services LLC and force Nick Loeb to sit for the additional inquiries. The $2,110 fine, if imposed, would be to compensate the defense attorneys for their work on the motion.
The judge is scheduled to hear arguments Monday before issuing a final ruling.
In the negligence suit filed 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 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, the ART form directive 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.
Vergara failed to pay the storage fees and Loeb ended up paying them, he says.
Loeb and Vergara also were not provided legal counsel or advised to speak to lawyers before signing the forms, according to Loeb.
The ART Center’s attorneys wanted to ask Loeb questions during his deposition about his living children and his relationship with them, but Loeb’s lawyer told him not to answer, according to the judge’s tentative ruling.
“That alone compels the court to grant this motion,” Goorvitch wrote. “The law is clear that an attorney may not direct a client not to answer a question during the deposition unless it implicates issues such as privilege or trade secret.”
Loeb also has made his relationship with his children an issue in his lawsuit, saying that his feelings of loss at not being able to have a relationship with the unborn children are a component of his emotional distress.
“Therefore, (ART Center) is entitled to inquire into his relationship with his living children to ascertain the merits of this claim for damages,” Goorvitch wrote.
Among the questions the facility’s lawyers want to ask Loeb are how often he sees his children in person, who is their biological mother, who has legal custody of them, does he have a visitation schedule set with them, what are their genders, and was Loeb present for their birthdays and school performances.
In his court papers, Loeb’s attorney, Vip Bhola, stated that given that Loeb has received death threats because of his pro-life beliefs and Vergara’s popularity, “He is not going to subject his living children to that risk.”
In a separate legal action, Vergara, now 49, sued Loeb in February 2016, seeking a court order declaring that any attempts by Loeb, now 46, to bring the embryos to term would be a breach of their original contract. Vergara won that case in March 2021.