A Louisiana man who was awarded $870,000 in ‘mental anguish’ damages after his ex-girlfriend stole his sperm and inseminated herself, has filed an appeal after a trial judge lowered the award to a mere $1,900.
Layne Hardin and his former girlfriend, Katherine LeBlanc, sued Texas Andrology services in Houston after the sperm bank reportedly gave Tobie Devall two viles of his semen wrapped in a paper bag in 2013.
The jury ruled that the fertility clinic violated the contract and ordered the company to pay Hardin and LeBlanc $250,0000 each. Devall was ordered to pay $125,000 to her ex-boyfriend and $250,000 to LeBlanc in 2015.
Layne Hardin (left) and his former girlfriend, Katherine LeBlanc, were awarded $870,000 in damages after Hardin’s ex-girlfriend Tobie Devall (right) used his sperm to artificially inseminate herself without his permission
Texas Andrology Services was ordered to pay Hardin and LeBlanc after violating the contract which stated LeBlanc was the rightful owner. A state judge later over turned the decision
But state District Judge Jeff Shadwicke heard the case and lowered the award to $1,900 after he said it was a wrongful pregnancy case, ABC 13 reported.
A three-judge panel was asked to reverse the decision on Wednesday at Houston’s First Court of Appeals.
Hardin and LeBlanc’s lawyer, Cade Bernsen, said: ‘The pivotal question before the First Court of Appeals is whether or not people and institutions who wrongfully take or misappropriate another’s genetic material will be held accountable under Texas law.’
Defense attorney Lee Hoffoss argued ‘the existence of a child does not allow someone to get money for their pain and suffering.’
In 2002, Hardin and his then-40-year-old girlfriend Katherine LeBlanc(pictured), decided to freeze his sperm before he underwent a vasectomy
The couple broke up in 2006, and Hardin (pictured with his sons) began dating Tobie Devall, who took his sperm to give birth to a son after they broke up
The case has caused concerns over whether a price can be put on a human’s life.
In 2002, Hardin and his then-40-year-old girlfriend Katherine LeBlanc, decided to freeze his sperm before he underwent a vasectomy.
WHAT IS A WRONGFUL PREGNANCY?
The couple had already conceived a son together, who was 12 years old at the time.
Hardin and LeBlanc had signed a contract stating she was the owner of the sperm and had the right to use the sperm should she decide to conceive another child in the future.
However, the couple broke up in 2006, and Hardin began dating Tobie Devall.
In March 2008, the two went to the fertility clinic to discuss pregnancy options for Devall. She was aware he already had his sperm stored at the clinic next door, according to Hardin’s attorney.
After the couple broke up, Devall went to the fertility center and artificially inseminated herself Hardin’s sperm without his permission and gave birth to his son, who is now six.
Hardin and Devall had a long custody battle in Louisiana after she refused to give him any custodial rights.
It is unclear when a decision will be made on the appeal.