Attorney: Baby M Guardian Biased Against Whitehead
HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) _ Lawyers for surrogate mother Mary Beth Whitehead say Baby M’s court- appointed attorney was biased against their client and should not be allowed to collect fees.
In legal papers released Tuesday, Mrs. Whitehead’s attorney, Harold J. Cassidy, asked a judge to reject or reduce the the claim by Lorraine A. Abraham of Hackensack for $142,000 in fees for representing the legal interests of Baby M, whose name now is Melissa Elizabeth Stern.
″Mrs. Abraham, from the time she became involved in this case, has demonstrated that she was not impartial but rather was biased against the Whiteheads,″ Cassidy wrote to Superior Court Judge Harvey R. Sorkow.
In addition to her fees and expenses, three mental health experts hired by Mrs. Abraham have submitted bills totaling $48,248.
Sorkow has not scheduled arguments on how to pay Mrs. Abraham or the experts. Nor has the judge scheduled a hearing on a motion by the attorney for William and Elizabeth Stern of Tenafly to force Mrs. Whitehead to pay the Sterns’ legal bills with money gained from the sale of literary and movie rights to her story.
Mrs. Abraham had previously asked that her bills be paid by establishing a trust fund for Baby M with money from sales of book or movie rights by the Whiteheads or the Sterns. Sorkow, however, rejected that motion.
In an unprecedented ruling in March, Sorkow stripped Mrs. Whitehead of her parental rights to Baby M, the girl she bore for the Sterns as part of a surrogate parenting contract.