Clayton Echard's Paternity Suit: Former “Bachelor” Star Scores Legal Victory as Accuser 'Knowingly Presented a False Claim'

A woman filed a lawsuit against the former 'Bachelor' star in September and claimed he had fathered her unborn twins during a one-night stand

John Medland/ABC Clayton Echard
John Medland/ABC Clayton Echard

Former Bachelor Clayton Echard has won a legal victory in the paternity suit filed against him.

Nine months after an unidentified woman — who is named Laura Owens in recent court filings — claimed he had fathered her unborn twins during a one-night stand, the former reality star, 31, alleged during the trial — which began on June 10 — that his accuser “has fabricated her pregnancy, a condition which cannot have resulted from the parties’ interactions, because according to [Echard] they never had sexual intercourse,” in court documents obtained by PEOPLE.

He sought to have Owens’ “protective order invalidated based on the alleged fabrication, while [Owens] essentially argues that even if she was never pregnant, the sexual activity between the two, and Respondent’s subsequent harassing online conduct, are sufficient to sustain the order regardless.”

Arizona Judge Julia Ann Mata agreed with the former reality star, noting that Owens “knowingly presented a false claim, knowingly violated a court order compelling disclosure or discovery,” according to the court documents.

Mata found that “[Owens] acted unreasonably when she initiated litigation without basis or merit. Without an authentic ultrasound, sonogram, physical examination, and in conjunction with a belief she passed tissue in July 2023, the Court finds the underlying Petition premature at best. At worst, however, fraudulent and made to incite communication, a relationship, or both, with the [Echard].”

Pamela Littky/ABC via Getty Images Clayton Echard
Pamela Littky/ABC via Getty Images Clayton Echard

Related: 'The Bachelor' Alum Clayton Echard Declares the 'Truth Will Always Set You Free' amid Paternity Scandal

The former reality star was consequently granted in Petition for Non-Paternity and his attorneys fees.

The court also “determined that Laura Owens has a pattern of similar, if not identical behavior, and court involvement” and referred the matter to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for further review of her actions.

In a statement to PEOPLE, Echard’s attorney Gregg Woodnick shared, “This has been an exhausting process, but we are very happy with the outcome and Judge Mata’s thoughtful ruling.  We hope this is the end [of] the saga for all the victims.”

Echard also seemingly reacted to the ruling on social media, writing, "Best day ever."

<p>Clayton Echard/Instagram</p> Clayton Echard's Instagram Story

Clayton Echard/Instagram

Clayton Echard's Instagram Story

Owens’ lawyer David Gingras told PEOPLE that his client plans to appeal the verdict, sharing in a statement, “We are also shocked the ruling came just hours after notifying Judge Mata of our intention to file a Notice for Change of Judge for Cause, citing suspected judicial misconduct. The judge’s father was present for the trial, which is not illegal by itself, but it raises very serious concerns regarding the judge’s neutrality.”

“The judge’s father was seen socializing with the opposing side and commented that he was ‘here for the s---show.’ This type of conduct is truly bizarre and worrying,” the statement continued.

“In her Findings of Fact, Judge Mata acknowledged multiple positive pregnancy tests, including one purchased by Clayton for Laura, yet she chose to rely on the unlikely 0.1% chance that she was testing positive for reasons other than pregnancy,” the statement concluded. “There was no medical basis for the court to find Laura was not pregnant, but that’s what happened. We are confident this decision will be overturned on appeal.”

The decision comes nine months after the Bachelor alum revealed the results of his paternity test after an unidentified woman filed a lawsuit against him in September, claiming he had fathered her unborn twins after a one-night stand.

“Listen, it’s Friday and you know what we need on a Friday? We need some good news and who has got the good news today? I got the good news today,” Echard began in an Instagram video on Oct. 6. “The test results came back early and they said little to no fetal DNA present. Let’s go baby! I knew that was going to happen and thankfully five months of torture can finally be put to rest.”

“Two false accusations in two years — I really don’t want to look ahead to next year to see what will happen. I think two false accusations in a lifetime is enough,” he continued, seemingly referring to his ex-girlfriend Susie Evans’ 2022 infidelity claims.

Related: Clayton Echard and Rachel Recchia Poke Fun at 'Reality TV Trauma' as They Reunite Beside 'Bachelor' Pals

“This has been a trying time but I learned so much about myself and now back to the regularly scheduled program,” he concluded.

On Sept. 21, Echard posted a screenshot of a receipt for a paternity test on his Instagram Story in order to clear the air after he was named in a paternity lawsuit in August by an unidentified woman.

In the lawsuit, the woman alleged that Echard got her pregnant after the two met for a one-night stand. After filing the suit, the woman requested Echard take a test to find out the paternity of her unborn twins before she gave birth in February. The 33-year-old woman, who chose to remain anonymous, claimed that the former Bachelor wasn’t complying with her requests for a test.

“This is the timeline. The truth will always set you free,” Echard wrote over the email receipt in a post on his Instagram Stories. Per his screenshot, the television personality paid $725 to schedule an appointment with a paternity clinic.

Pamela Littky/ABC Clayton Echard
Pamela Littky/ABC Clayton Echard

Related: Susie Evans Calls Relationship with Clayton Echard 'Emotionally Taxing and Not Good for the Soul'

"I will take my portion of the test on the 27th of September,” he wrote in the email, adding that the woman will contribute her sample on Oct. 2. “Results will then take about a week to get back. I believe we’re all on the same page now.”

At the time, Echard denied claims he had “sexual intercourse” with the woman in an interview with The Sun. The woman reportedly told the outlet that he refused to take a test and that she had to pay a $725 deposit for it, but Echard called her accusations “baseless” and “lacking in merit.”

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In court documents obtained by PEOPLE, the woman stated that Echard refused to believe she was pregnant when she originally informed him back in June.

“I wanted you to come over to confirm what I was doubting. And you did confirm that. So, I don’t see you as a liar anymore,” he allegedly texted the unidentified woman.

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