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Arts and Entertainment

Sofia Vergara Is Being Sued By Her Frozen Embryos

Sofia Vergara at the 88th Annual Academy Awards (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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In a world now dominated by fake news, we're happy to bring you some real news: actress Sofia Vergara is currently being sued by her two frozen embryos.

The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday in Louisiana and lists three plaintiffs: the two embryos apparently named "Emma" and "Isabella," and a James Charbonnet who is listed as their trustee. The suit alleges that Vergara's refusal to allow the embryos to fully develop is preventing them from inheriting the trust set up on their behalf.

"Emma and Isabella seek that they be entrusted to their natural father [Nick] Loeb, who is willing and desirous that they be born and become eligible to receive their inheritance," the suit reads.

Vergara's ex-fiance Loeb himself is not listed as a plaintiff, but it appears the lawsuit came on the heels of him dropping his own lawsuit earlier this week, in which he sought custody of the embryos. The dispute over them goes back to their split in 2014. He explained in a New York Times op-ed, headlined "Our Embryos Have A Right To Live," that:

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In 2013, Sofía and I agreed to try to use in vitro fertilization and a surrogate to have children. We signed a form stating that any embryos created through the process could be brought to term only with both parties’ consent. The form did not specify — as California law requires — what would happen if we separated. I am asking to have it voided.

Vergara has stated that she has no intention of doing anything with the embryos and says Loeb has made the private matter public as an attention-grab. Loeb wrote in the op-ed, "In my view, keeping them frozen forever is tantamount to killing them."

In a statement to Us Weekly, Vergara's lawyer issued the following statement in response to reports about the latest lawsuit:

If these reports are true, this latest maneuver is nothing more than another attempt on the part of Loeb to keep himself in the public eye by keeping himself linked to Ms. Vergara. The media reports contend that Mr. Loeb has caused a lawsuit to be initiated claiming that the pre-embryos - which are not embryos, but rather frozen fertilized ova, have been given names by him and have a right to live. Loeb apparently thinks that he will garner sympathy from the public and the courts through this latest maneuver, one that we believe will also result in failure. It is unfortunate that Loeb feels the need to keep himself linked to Vergara, who is happily married, by taking up more of our overburdened courts resources, preventing judges from focusing on real legal problems. If it is really a family that Loeb wants, he should hire a surrogate and an egg donor and create one without dragging Vergara through another unnecessary legal battle.

So why, of all places, is this new lawsuit being filed in Louisiana? Because it is the only state in which in vitro human embryos have the right to go to court. According to a law passed three decades ago in Louisiana, an "in vitro fertilized human ovum" is granted personhood and "entitles such ovum to sue or be sued" and that legal disputes be settled "in the best interest of the in vitro fertilized ovum." And while the embryos in question are in Beverly Hills, the trust established for them was set up in Louisiana.

Naturally, a case like this appears to be a first. "I have never heard of this. Never," Monica Hof Wallace, a professor at Loyola University’s New Orleans College of Law, told The Daily Beast.

But even though the law seems to give them legal standing to sue, it seems Isabella and Emma don't stand much of a chance in court. "The Supreme Court long ago decided that to achieve the status of a protected human life, an embryo has to be able to survive on its own," Manhattan attorney Michael Stutman told Page Six. "With these embryos being unable to do that, they probably have as much legal protection to exist as your sofa."