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Balmaceda Again Seeks to Have UC Pay His Legal Fees

TIMES STAFF WRITER

An attorney for Dr. Jose P. Balmaceda filed his second petition Thursday seeking to force the University of California to pay the doctor’s legal costs in five lawsuits related to allegations of egg swapping at UC Irvine’s once-famed Center for Reproductive Health.

Balmaceda has been named in more than 60 lawsuits filed against him and his two partners--UCI clinic director Dr. Ricardo H. Asch and Dr. Sergio C. Stone. Five more lawsuits were filed by former patients Friday in Orange County Superior Court.

The university initially refused to pay any of the doctors’ legal costs related to the misconduct allegations, contending the trio acted outside the scope of their employment. But the most recent petition comes after Orange County Superior Court Judge Leonard Goldstein ordered the UC regents to pay for Stone’s defense in one lawsuit in which Balmaceda has also been served.

After Balmaceda’s attorney, Daniel J. Callahan, filed a similar petition late last month, the university agreed to pay Balmaceda’s legal costs in another case. But the plaintiffs later dropped Balmaceda’s name from that action.

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The doctors have been accused by the university of stealing the eggs and embryos of scores of women and implanting them in others at three Orange County clinics and one at UC San Diego. The doctors have denied any intentional wrongdoing.

Callahan said the university should pay his client’s costs because he did not perform invasive procedures on any of the women in the five lawsuits with which he has been served, and is named in the actions only because of his legal partnership with Asch.

Balmaceda left the country last year for his native Chile and Asch is living in Mexico.

Stone, the only doctor to remain in the United States, has been indicted on 10 counts of mail fraud. He has pleaded not guilty.

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