16:27, May 09 510 0 abajournal.com

2018-05-09 16:27:06
Widow claims a failure to safeguard her late husband’s sperm by lawyer who allegedly advised him

The widow of a software company CEO claims a lawyer breached a fiduciary duty by failing to safeguard the frozen sperm of the widow’s late husband.

Widow Katherine Pesic is suing lawyer Shelley Tarnoff along with the alleged former mistress of her late husband, Joyce Chin, who gave birth to twins in July 2013 using the frozen sperm, Law360 reports. Other defendants in the California lawsuit are a fertility center and one of its doctors.

Pesic is suing as an individual and as the representative for the estate of her husband, who died in October 2012. Judge Theodore Zayner of Santa Clara Superior Court heard arguments in the case on Tuesday.

Pesic’s late husband is Ivan Pesic, the founder and CEO of Silvaco, according to Law360. Ivan Pesic donated his sperm after a cancer diagnosis in 2010, and the health issue was allegedly known to the fertility clinic. Chin became pregnant after Ivan Pesic’s death; Katherine Pesic says she should have inherited the sperm. Katherine Pesic is seeking $27 million, three times the amount Chin is seeking in child support in a separate suit.

Law360 summarizes allegations in the suit. Tarnoff had represented Ivan Pesic and Chin in an agreement with an egg donor, the suit says. A licensed marriage and family therapist, Tarnoff had also conducted a psychological evaluation of Chin and Ivan Pesic as part of the egg donor process. Tarnoff’s report said Chin and Ivan Pesic were in good health and had been married for 12 years, the suit claims.

The egg donor agreement required Chin to notify the egg donor agency about any change in circumstances, including the death of a party.

Judge Zayner issued a tentative ruling on a motion to dismiss several claims in the suit, but didn’t issue a final ruling after hearing oral arguments, according to Law360.

The tentative ruling allowed the estate’s claims against Tarnoff for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty, and also allowed a claim for conversion. But the tentative ruling tossed other claims, including ones for intentional and negligent misrepresentation.

The tentative ruling also allowed the estate’s claims against the Zouves Fertility Center for conversion and breach of fiduciary duty, but struck those same claims by the widow as an individual.

Tarnoff told the ABA Journal she is unable to comment on the lawsuit.