There is an interesting torts lawsuit out of Houston where Layne Hardin, 44, is suing Obstetrical and Gynecological Associates, PA for allegedly giving two vials of his sperm to an ex-girfriend who proceeded to have his child. She is also suing the former boyfriend. The boy is now 2 years old. Hardin says that Tobie Devall has never let him see the boy while her lawyer says that he has never asked to see the boy.
Hardin made the donation for a woman with whom he already had a 12-year-old child. However, he alleges that Tobie Devall bluffed the facility employees and left with the vials in a brown paper bag. She went directly to a doctor’s office in the same building and was inseminated.
Devall alleges in a countersuit that he told her that she could use his sperm and her lawyer says that Hardin is just a “money grubber” who wants cash from Devall’s wealthy family and the facility.
Hardin said Devall has never let him see his child. Her attorney said he has never requested to see the boy.
The lawsuit names both emotional and potential financial liability for the child. The latter issue has been discussed on this site in previous cases where fathers have been sued for child support for children born by artificial insemination and even through an unconsented use of sperm. (here, here, and here).
In this case, it is the hospital that is most at risk. If Devall claims prior approval, the jury is left with a he said, she said situation. However, the hospital should have a clear and sufficient process for the removal of such material to avoid cases of misrepresentation. For most people, having a biological child does create a significant emotional burden, not to mention a feeling of personal intrusion and violation.
It is interesting that there was no criminal charge. Such material is valued on the market over what would constitute a felony since it can be purchased from sperm banks. If the allegations are true, there would be fraud and misrepresentation as well as a fascinating case of conversion.
What do you think?