Sperm bank lawsuit called unprecedented for Texas

“I spent 30 years defending doctors and now I’m the sperm bank lawyer,” said attorney Jim Edwards. “This is a very strange case.”

“It’s going to be a messy trial,” added attorney Cade Bernsen.

And jurors will likely hear a lot about frozen sperm and Layne Hardin’s love life.

“Our clients have said from day one that they never want something like this to happen to anyone else,” Bernsen said.

According to his lawsuit in 2002 Layne and Kathy LeBlanc, his domestic partner at the time went to West Houston Fertility Center now known as Texas Andrology Services to store Layne’s sperm prior to having a vasectomy.

“There was a three page contract that had both of our clients name on it,” said Bernsen.

The suit claims that contract had specific contingencies about Layne’s frozen sperm. In the event of his death or if they split up Kathy would decide what to do with the sperm. If they both died or failed to pay the storage fees for the frozen sperm it would be discarded.

“It’s explicit it’s very simple,” Bernsen said. “That was not done.”

“I think Mr. Hardin just had a few too many girlfriends,” Edwards said.

According to the suit in 2006, Layne and Kathy ended their relationship. In 2008, the suit alleges Layne consulted with a fertility doctor about his frozen sperm with his new girlfriend Tobie Devall. In October of 2009, the couple split the lawsuit states and accuses Tobie of going behind Layne’s back to get the frozen sperm.

“Unfortunately no one bothered to check the contract check her I.D. make sure she was an appropriate person to release the sperm to,” Bernsen said.

“All a sperm bank does is keep the stuff frozen,” Edwards said. “And when it gets an order from a doctor to dispense it it dispenses it.”

In 2010 the lawsuit states Tobie Devall gave birth to a baby boy and filed suit in Louisiana to have Layne Hardin’s parental rights terminated.

Her attorney declined to respond.

Layne’s attorney hopes the case will prompt laws in Texas to regulate sperm banks.