Ex-girlfriend countersues Sulphur man over stolen sperm claim

By By Natalie Stewart / American Press

A Sulphur man is suing a fertility

clinic and an ex-girlfriend, claiming the sperm bank gave two vials of

his sperm to the

woman, who conceived a 2-year-old boy. But the woman is

countersuing, claiming she had permission to be inseminated with the

sperm.

According to court documents, in 2002 Layne Hardin and Katherine LeBlanc, his then girlfriend with whom he also has a child,

went to Texas Andrology in Houston to store Hardin’s sperm before he had a vasectomy.

Cade Bernsen, Hardin’s attorney, said when the sperm was stored, Hardin and LeBlanc entered into a legal contract with the

clinic with “binding directions.”

Bernsen said according to the contract, LeBlanc, who is also listed as a plaintiff, has ownership of the sperm in the event

of Hardin’s death or if the couple separated, which they did in 2006.

Hardin’s attorney said in October 2009,

Tobie Devall — a woman who had an “on-again, off-again” relationship

with Hardin —

went to the fertility clinic and “basically walked in and said,

‘Hey, give me some sperm from Mr. Hardin,’ and the sperm bank

didn’t check the contract, didn’t check her ID, they didn’t do any

kind of safety protocol.”

Bernsen said the clinic “handed Tobie Devall a brown paper bag with two vials of sperm. Then she walked out and went next

door and got inseminated.”

“This has been a nightmare for him; a nightmare for his family, knowing there’s a boy out there,” Bernsen told the American Press. “(Devall) hasn’t allowed (Hardin) to see him.”

Bernsen said Hardin and Devall had been separated for about a year when she was inseminated.

Bernsen said according to Louisiana law, Hardin is “technically on the hook” for child support if Devall pursued action for

it.

Hardin and LeBlanc are suing the clinic for breach of contract, violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices, ordinary

negligence, gross negligence and conversion. They are suing Devall for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Devall’s attorney, J. Lee Hoffoss, said Devall is countersuing Hardin for his “fraudulent and intentional misrepresentations”

to her.

According to court documents submitted

by the defense, LeBlanc was never granted “decisional authority” over

Hardin’s sperm

because “at no time after this claimed end of Layne Hardin’s

relationship with Katherine LeBlanc did Layne Hardin or Katherine

LeBlanc ever contact (Texas Andrology) to inform it or its staff

that there was a dissolution of couple.”

The document also states that in 2005,

“Layne Hardin began a relationship with Tobie Devall while continuing to

have a relationship

with Katherine LeBlanc.”

“Layne Hardin and Katherine LeBlanc

never ceased having a sexual relationship, and continued having a sexual

relationship

while he was in a relationship with Tobie Devall,” the document

states. “There was no dissolution of the couple ... decisional

authority over (Hardin’s sperm) never transferred to Katherine

LeBlanc ... .”

The document says that during Hardin and Devall’s relationship, they had discussed having children but Hardin had already

had a vasectomy. “Layne Hardin informed Tobie Devall that he had sperm stored in Houston, and that she could use the sperm

to attempt to become pregnant,” the defense contends.

The document also states that Hardin and Devall had a consultation about Devall being inseminated.

Hoffoss provided the following statement to the American Press

on Devall’s behalf: “This case involves the life of one innocent child.

Soon, 12 men and women will see all of the evidence

and make a decision based upon the true facts of the case. It is

not fair to the family, nor the justice system, to try this

case in the media. The truth will come out at trial and will be

reflected in the jury’s verdict. We are looking forward to

allowing our jury system to work ... .”

The story recently gained national attention when it appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

The trial is scheduled for April 22 in Houston.