Man Who Called Quits After In Vitro Ducks Suit

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – A woman cannot sue the ex who she claims broke a promise to financially support her and the baby she conceived by in vitro fertilization, a federal judge ruled.
     Tracey Smith said that Gregory Carr lavished her with vacations and had rented a beach house in Malibu for them to share after they began dating in late 2007.
     During their courtship, Carr paid for Smith to undergo three in vitro fertilization procedures, according to the complaint. Smith says Carr proposed marriage after the second unsuccessful procedure, and promised that he would financially support her for life.
     After accepting his proposal, Smith said that she quit her job as an esthetician and left her apartment. But Carr abruptly ended their relationship in early 2010, right after Smith had undergone a third in vitro procedure using her own egg and donor sperm.
     Smith says Carr promised to support and father the child, whom she delivered in the summer of 2011.
     In October of that year, Carr allegedly sent Smith an email letting her know he would no longer be sending her money.
     She filed suit in February 2012, but U.S. District Judge Christian Snyder dismissed the case without prejudice in June, giving Smith leave to file an amended complaint for equitable estoppel.
     Smith fared no better on the second go around.
     The judge found that Smith’s claim for express contract failed because she did not allege any new facts.
     “First, plaintiff merely repeats her allegation from the original complaint that she did not condition her promises upon ‘any illicit meretricious consideration,’ but instead upon her providing ‘attention, availability, domestic services, companionship, comfort love, and emotional support,'” Snyder wrote.
     Those services were “‘inextricably intertwined with the sexual relationship,'” and they did not “constitute the lawful consideration required for a contract under California law,” he added.
     “In light of the comparatively brief duration of both the parties’ relationship and cohabitation, plaintiff has not alleged she performed services in exchange for defendant’s express promises apart from the interactions typical of every romantic relationship,” the decision states. “Without more, plaintiff’s express contract claim must fail for lack of consideration, as plaintiff’s alleged consideration is inextricably intertwined with any meretricious consideration.”
     Smith also failed to state a claim of “detrimental reliance,” even though she had quit her job and moved out of her apartment to live with Carr, according to the ruling.
     “All of plaintiff’s alleged reliance directly arose from her entering into a romantic relationship with defendant – she did not quit her job to become defendant’s business partner or provide other services of ‘the type for which one would expect to be compensated,'” Snyder wrote.
     Smith had also failed to show that Carr breached an implied contract by allegedly reneging on a promise to support the baby and cover medical expenses.
     “Because the parties to this case were not married and plaintiff has not alleged that defendant provided his written consent to the IVF procedure, the court finds plaintiff’s argument for an implied support obligation to be without merit,” Snyder wrote, abbreviating in      vitro fertilization.
     As for the equitable estoppel claim, Snyder found that Smith did not demonstrate that Carr was Sophia’s “‘presumed parent'” – the “prerequisite to finding an obligation to support a child.”
     The judge dismissed Smith’s amended complaint with prejudice, closing the door for further amended claims.

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