California

Judge Rules in Favor of Former Vergara Fiance in Latest Embryo Battle Chapter

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A Los Angeles judge ruled that actress Sofia Vergara's former fiance can have a lawyer who's representing him in Louisiana in a two-state battle over the former couple's frozen embryos join his legal team in California.

A minute order issued Monday by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Christopher Lui's clerk said that judge ruled that Jalesia McQueen, the lawyer for businessman Nick Loeb, can practice law in California on the Vergara-Loeb case.

Lui heard arguments on McQueen's application on Sept. 10, then took the case under submission after asking McQueen for a sworn declaration with more background information.

Vergara's lawyers opposed the motion to add McQueen, stating in their court papers that McQueen "does not offer this court any rationale or justification as to why she should be added as additional counsel for Loeb or what she could positively contribute to Loeb's defense."

McQueen, who is licensed to practice in Illinois and Missouri, "has demonstrated a total disregard for the governing rules of ethics and civil procedure," Vergara's lawyers' court papers allege. "There is every reason for this court to believe that McQueen, if allowed to appear ... in this case, will engage in the same obstructionist and bad faith conduct."

Vergara is seeking fines against McQueen in the Louisiana case, according to her lawyers' court papers. But Lui said during the earlier hearing that the actions in the Louisiana case have no bearing on the California suit absent any evidence McQueen would engage in any alleged discovery abuse here.

In her declaration, McQueen said she has a good record practicing law in Illinois and Missouri.

"I am a member in good standing in those courts," she said. "I am not currently suspended or disbarred by any court."

In the California case, Vergara sued Loeb in February 2016, seeking a court order declaring that any attempts by Loeb to bring the pre-embryos to term is a breach of their original contract.

The pre-embryos were created at the ART Reproductive Center in Beverly Hills. Loeb, 44, sued Vergara, 47, in Louisiana for control of two human embryos they created back in 2013 to try to have a child via surrogate. Vergara, who has an adult son, married actor Joe Manganiello in November 2015.

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