August 7, 2009 / 6:52 PM / 10 years ago

"Octo-Mom" wins latest round in battle over babies

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The California woman who gave birth to octuplets in January has won the latest round in a court fight over the babies’ earnings and assets.

Attorney Gloria Allred announces the filing of a petition in Orange County Superior Court during a news conference in Los Angeles May 4, 2009. REUTERS/Phil McCarten

The state’s Fourth District Court of Appeal late on Thursday stayed a probate judge’s order appointing a legal guardian for the finances of the six boys and two girls.

That guardian had been sought by Paul Peterson, a onetime Disney Mouseketeer turned child entertainer advocate, and attorney Gloria Allred, who said they feared Nadya Suleman would exploit her children for commercial gain.

Suleman, who has a total of 14 children including the octuplets, had appealed the probate court’s ruling on the grounds that Peterson had no legal standing and that the judge had no jurisdiction.

The Fourth District did not rule on the merits of the case but issued the stay until an August 20 hearing on Suleman’s motion to have Peterson’s petition dismissed.

The appeals court’s intervention is the latest twist for Suleman, who gave birth on January 26 to what is believed to be only the second set of octuplets in the United States.

She has come under withering criticism for undergoing the fertility treatments that led to the octuplets when she already had six children, was accepting public assistance and living with her mother.

The 33-year-old single mother was quickly dubbed “Octo-Mom” in the tabloid press, a nickname she subsequently adopted and sought to trademark.

Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in the Los Angeles suburb of Bellflower, where Suleman gave birth, was fined $250,000 by the state of California after workers there pried into her medical records.

It was the first such penalty under a new state law prompted by similar cases involving pop star Britney Spears and actress Farrah Fawcett.

Editing by Bill Trott

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