HUNTINGTON – A man is suing a gestational surrogate he claims breached her contract and committed fraud.
S.U. and C.J. met at their mutual place of employment in Kanawha County in 2004 and became friends, according to a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
S.U. claims he wished to have children and presented the idea of gestational surrogacy to the defendant, and she initially agreed to serve as an altruistic gestational surrogate, but later stated that she first wanted a genetic child of her own.
The parties agreed to conceive a shared child stemming from each parties’ DNA and did so through artificial insemination and it was agreed that custody would be 50/50 for the shared child, according to the suit.
S.U. claims the parties further agreed that after the shared child was born, the defendant would then act as a gestational surrogate for the plaintiff and that plaintiff would assume sole custody of the resulting child or children. The arrangement and intent of the parties was preserved in a custodial agreement on Jan. 17, 2005.
C.J. became pregnant in 2010 with the shared child and gave birth in 2011, according to the suit.
S.U. claims when C.J. became unhappy with her rental home, they came to an agreement that would mutually benefit them both whereupon C.J. would move into S.U.’s home in Mason County and would pay all living expenses of the household as rent. This allowed S.U. to quit work and return to school.
For the benefit of the shared child, S.U. assisted C.J. in purchasing a car and allowing her access to his name and credit, according to the suit.
S.U. claims in 2013, C.J. unlawfully traded S.U.’s car in on a new car under her own name without his permission and the new car was repossessed in 2015 and sold for lack of payment.
On March 5, 2010, the parties executed a personal loan agreement from S.U. to C.J. for $58,000 and she substantially failed to make payments on the loan and then charged an additional $20,000 on S.U.’s credit card without his permission, according to the suit.
S.U. claims C.J. breached the custodial agreement by declining to serve as a gestational surrogate after giving birth to the shared child, which caused S.U. to search for a new surrogate.
The new surrogate agreed to undergo surrogacy for a sum of $15,000, however, testing in 2013 revealed that she had a malformed uterus that was not suitable for a safe pregnancy, according to the suit.
S.U. claims only then did C.J. agree to honor the custodial agreement and underwent IVF, became pregnant and gave birth to a child in 2014 known as “IVF child.”
C.J. agreed to act as a gestational surrogate one more time and became pregnant with twins in 2016. The twins are known as “IVF Twin A” and “IVF Twin B,” according to the suit.
S.U. claims C.J. was hospitalized and put on bed rest after IVF Twin A’s gestational sac ruptured at 23 weeks.
The rupture was linked to contributing factors of the defendant’s uncontrolled diabetes, uncontrolled hypertension, morbid obesity, short stature and higher risk associated with twin pregnancies, according to the suit.
S.U. claims the defendant was also taking a contraindicated weight loss medication and benzodiazepines against S.U. and the physician’s wishes, which had unknown effects on the pregnancy and children.
On Sept. 28, S.U. visited C.J. while she was still in the hospital on bed rest and expressed his concern over how she had spoken to and treated him during a video chat the week before and also discussed her need to repay her monthly loan, among other things, according to the suit.
S.U. claims the defendant immediately retaliated against him by calling and making a disturbingly harsh complaint to, and against, the physician who was essential in saving IVF Child’s life when said child was sick and in the hospital.
C.J. also made a false report to CPS, who appeared the following day at S.U.’s home, according to the suit.
S.U. claims on Oct. 3, he took IVF Child to the hospital for another follow-up appointment and, due to the defendant’s malicious CPS report and false claims of abuse, he opted not to visit her on that day. He later learned that C.J. again retaliated against him by calling the Department of Health and Human Resources and canceling the West Virginia Food Stamps card issued for Shared Child and IVF Child that the defendant had recently given the plaintiff.
The defendant stated to DHHR that she had lost her card and wanted a new one sent to her sister’s address in Kanawha County, according to the suit. Meanwhile, it was S.U. who was solely caring for and purchasing food for Shared Child and IVF Child in Mason County.
S.U. claims he requested the defendant to provide him with the defendant’s hospital pin number so he could speak with the nursing staff regarding his unborn children and the defendant refused to do so. When S.U. called the nursing staff and reported his concerns over the defendant being his gestational surrogate and the fact that she would not provide him with information on his unborn children, a nurse stated that she did have a pin number and that she had to be the one to provide S.U. with the pin number.
On Oct. 12, to protect himself further from allegations of abuse and to prevent the defendant from the ability to remove him from his own home, the plaintiff sent the defendant an eviction notice, according to the suit. At that point, the defendant had already moved most of her personal belongings from his home prior to her Sept. 4 hospital admission.
S.U. claims to additionally secure his and to protect himself, he filed a wrongful occupation of residential property against C.J. on Nob. 16.
The plaintiff additionally spoke with the hospital’s staff attorney, who stated that he must file for custody in Kanawha County to order the hospital to release the children to him upon their discharge from the hospital. He also filed a petition for declaration of parentage and motion to seal record in Kanawha Circuit Court, according to the suit.
S.U. claims the defendant fraudulently and falsely represented that she was the biologic mother of all of S.U.’s children and planned for the birth of the twins such that they would be born before the plaintiff could establish his parental rights and stop her from wrongfully obtaining custody.
The defendant also did not notify the plaintiff of the impending cesarean section of the twins, which precluded S.U. from being present for their birth, according to the suit.
S.U. claims the defendant sent him a text message on Oct. 28, stating that the children had been born and represented that they had died during childbirth, speaking of them in the past tense.
The plaintiff did not believe C.J. and called the hospital directly and the hospital directed him to immediately appear and sign a declaration of paternity affidavit so that he could see his children, according to the suit.
S.U. claims upon execution of the affidavit, he discovered that the defendant had named his children without his input, knowledge or consent and that the names bear a connection to the defendant’s family, giving the children false lineage and precluding the plaintiff from asserting his own.
The infractions against S.U. have caused significant and irreparable strain on the parties’ friendship, according to the suit.
S.U. claims they never entered into an agreement where C.J. would assume custody of his children and he wholly paid for IVF, the donor and the defendant’s travel and lodging expenses while she acted as a gestational surrogate.
C.J. breached her contract with S.U. and committed fraud, according to the suit.
S.U. is seeking an order granting him immediate sole residential and legal custody of IVF Child, IVF Twin A and IVF Twin B; for the three children’s birth certificates to be corrected, disestablishing C.J. as a legal parent; correcting the IVF Twins birth certificates by ordering their names changed from C.J.’s given names to S.U.’s; order that Shared Child continue to live in Mason County and that the parties will have 50/50 residential and legal custody of Shared Child as per the custodial agreement; and order compensation for all monetary damages suffered by S.U. The plaintiff is representing himself.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 3:17-cv-02366