TACOMA (CN) – A man who claims he learned during his divorce that his daughter was conceived artificially, using his sperm and a donor egg, sued the fertility clinic and his estranged wife – who is in jail charged with hiring a hit man to kill him.
Todd Hardin claims in Pierce County Court that he and his wife went to a fertility clinic in 2002 for in vitro fertilization, but the process failed.
In 2003, the clinic found an egg donor for the couple and Hardin’s wife, defendant Karen Lofgren, became pregnant and had a child, according to the complaint.
Hardin claims that the clinic, the defendants Center for Reproductive Health and its successor Northwest OB-GYN, froze his sperm and the unused embryos for future use.
Hardin claims his wife went back to the clinic in 2005, without his knowledge or consent, to use the frozen embryos to conceive another child.
“In or about February of 2005, defendant Karen E. Lofgren, who remained married to plaintiff Todd T. Hardin at that time, again presented herself to defendants Edwin Robins, M.D., P.S. and Northwest OB-GYN, P.S. without the knowledge, consent or agreement of plaintiff, Todd T. Hardin. Without the knowledge, consent or agreement of plaintiff Todd T. Hardin, defendant Karen E. Lofgren utilized all remaining cryopreserved embryos from February 2003 in an effort to achieve a new pregnancy,” the complaint states.
“The contractual documents prepared and presented by defendants Edwin Robins, M.D., P.S. and Northwest OB-GYN, P.S. required Todd T. Hardin’s signature for these additional procedures. However, these efforts by the defendant Karen E. Lofgren were undertaken without Todd T. Hardin’s signature, agreement or consent and performed by defendants Edwin Robins, M.D., P.S. and Northwest OB-GYN, P.S. without Todd T. Hardin’s knowledge, consent or agreement.”
Edwin Robins, M.D., P.S., is a Washington corporation dba the Center for Reproductive Health; and Edwin Robins M.D., P.S. is also a successor to Northwest OB-GYN, according to the complaint.
Hardin says he does not know what the outcome of the February 2005 procedure was, but claims that 8 months later his wife returned to the clinic, hoping to conceive. He claims that she picked a new egg donor and was allowed to use Hardin’s frozen sperm again without his knowledge or consent, and that this time she became pregnant and had another child in 2006.
“At all times material hereto, defendant Karen E. Lofgren represented to plaintiff Todd T. Hardin that her second pregnancy was she and Todd T. Hardin’s child biologically,” the complaint states.
Lofgren later told Hardin she was pregnant again but had a miscarriage, prompting Hardin to get a vasectomy, according to the complaint.
In 2010, Hardin claims, Lofgren forged his signature on consent forms allowing the clinic to destroy the frozen embryos.
The complaint states: “Defendant Karen E. Lofgren fraudulently executed or had executed at her direction this document which was accepted by the defendants Edwin Robins, M.D., P.S. and Northwest OB-GYN, P.S. Employees and/or agents and representatives of defendants Edwin Robins, M.D., P.S. and Northwest OB-GYN, P.S. countersigned the consent to discard cryo-preserved embryos and specifically represented in that form as follows:
“‘I have explained to each partner the consequences of their instructions to remove these embryos from cryogenic storage. Each partner has been afforded the opportunity to present questions and each has been advised of sources of additional information.’
“This attestation is false. Plaintiff Todd T. Hardin was never present at defendants Edwin Robins, M.D., P.S. and Northwest OB-GYN, P.S. facilities in 2010, was never notified of these alternatives and had no input or involvement in the destruction and discarding of the cryogenically preserved embryos.”
Hardin says he learned for the first time that his youngest daughter was artificially conceived in 2011, when he was in the middle of divorce proceedings with Lofgren.
“In or about July of 2011, plaintiff Todd T. Hardin learned for the first time about the conduct of defendants Edwin Robins, M.D., P.S. and Northwest OB-GYN, P.S. relative to the cryogenically preserved embryos, cryogenically preserved sperm, new harvest of eggs and destruction of cryogenically preserved sperm by defendants,” the complaint states. “At the time plaintiff Todd T. Hardin learned of the conduct of defendants Edwin Robins, M.D., P.S. and Northwest OB-GYN, P.S., Todd T. Hardin and defendant Karen E. Lofgren were separated and a divorce action was pending between them in Pierce County Superior Court. The nature and extent of the defendants Edwin Robins, M.D., P.S. and Northwest OB-GYN, P.S.’s conduct as alleged herein was raised in the context of the pending divorce action.”
During the divorce, Lofgren allegedly tried to hire a hit man to murder Hardin. She is in jail awaiting trial.
According to the Declaration for Determination of Probable Cause, filed by Washington State in Pierce County Superior Court on Feb. 12 this year: “in Pierce County, Washington, between the period of January 23, 2012 and February 23,
2012, the defendant, Karen Elizabeth Lofgren, did conspire with and/or solicit another to commit the crime of murder.”
Prosecutors say in the 2-page document that Lofgren asked an ex-convict “to help her ‘get rid of’ her estranged husband.”
The unwilling hit man told his federal probation officer, according to the Probable Cause document.
“The informant explained that over the past several months Lofgren indicated that she and her husband were divorcing, that it was not going well, that she had a one million dollar life insurance policy and if the husband were gone all her problems would go away.
“Lofgren indicated that she knew the informant ‘knew people’ and told the informant, ‘I really wish you’d do something about it. I need you to do this.’ The informant told detectives he took this to mean Lofgren wanted her husband killed. Lofgren offered the informant half of the insurance money as an incentive to proceed. When the informant told Lofgren that it would cost $25,000 to arrange to ‘get the guys up here,’ Lofgren indicated that her money was tied up in a trust.”
Detectives began recording Lofgren’s conversations with the informant and an undercover officer posed as the hit man, according to the Probable Cause document.
“On February 21, Lofgren met with the informant and an undercover sheriff’s detective posing as the ‘hit man,'” the document states. “Lofgren provided diamond earrings she valued in excess of $5,000 as a down payment for work to be done to the detective. In addition, Lofgren provided a picture of Hardin, his physical description and details of his daily schedule. Lofgren assured the detective that she was serious about the plan and had been thinking about it for three years. The detective left. The informant and Lofgren continued to talk and Lofgren expressed fear that she was going to be arrested.”
She was indeed arrested, 2 days later, “without incident,” according to the document. She “declined to make a statement.”
Hardin seeks damages from Dr. Robins and his clinics for violating standards of care and breach of contract, and damages from his ex-wife for fraud.
He also seeks special damages for outrage from all the defendants, damages for the expense of the birth and raising of his second child, therapy for his children, costs to reverse his vasectomy if possible and damages for the loss of fathering children if not.
He is represented by Daniel Kyler with Rush Hannula Harkins & Kyler, in Tacoma.