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The 49-year-old Beaverton divorcee was impressed when she met a 69-year-old Southeast Portland man on the Internet dating website eHarmony.
He seemed well-educated, charming and kind. They had a lot in common, including that she was a dental hygienist and he was a retired dentist. On the fourth date -- an evening that included hors d'oeuvres, wine and a few puffs of pot -- the two had sex.
The woman was looking for a husband. Instead, she ended up with genital herpes.
After enduring repeated painful outbreaks of the disease and spiraling into clinical depression, she filed a lawsuit. Last week after a four-day trial, a Multnomah County jury awarded her nearly every dollar she was asking for: $900,000 for her pain and suffering.
It was the first time a case of one person suing another for intentionally transmitting herpes went to trial in Oregon, said the attorneys who tried and researched the case.
Jurors were asked to ponder fundamental questions about dating and sex in today's times: Was the man obligated to tell his date that he had genital herpes before they had unprotected sex? Did he truly not know that he was contagious even when he wasn't experiencing lesions? And how much should a person be compensated for a disease, albeit incurable, that affects roughly 1 in 6 adults?
The jury deliberated for two hours before reaching a verdict: The man was 75 percent negligent, while the woman carried 25 percent of the blame. Two jurors, however, dissented, believing the man was entirely at fault.
Jurors also found that the retired dentist committed battery by intentionally engaging in an activity that harmed the woman.
Several jurors said they found the man's behavior reprehensible and that the dental hygienist's suffering was real.
"We all felt he should have told her -- he had the responsibility to tell her," said juror Noah Brimhall.
[DIFFICULT TO PROVE]
Lawsuits like this are rare because it's difficult to prove a "preponderance of the evidence" -- in other words, that someone "more likely than not" intentionally infected another. In 1996, however, a 32-year-old woman filed suit against her 38-year-old former Portland boyfriend, claiming he infected her with genital herpes after making a conscious decision not to tell her of his health status. He settled the case for $550,000.
Criminal charges also are rare. Some states specifically outlaw the intentional spread of any sexually transmitted diseases. Others criminalize only the intentional spreading of HIV because of its serious, life-threatening nature. Oregon does neither, but prosecutors can charge defendants under existing statutes, such as the state's assault law.
In the case of the retired dentist, the Washington County district attorney's office declined to prosecute, figuring it would not be able to prove the case "beyond a reasonable doubt" -- a higher standard than in a civil suit.
During last week's trial, the woman's attorney, Randall Vogt, said his client had received a clean bill of health in January 2010 and then had sex with the retired dentist for one time on May 25, 2010. Within 11 days, she had a herpes outbreak -- documented by her complaints to a doctor, he said.
The woman, who filed the case under a pseudonym, testified that she asked her date to wear a condom and he said OK, but the next thing she knew he wasn't wearing a condom and it was too late. Afterward, as they were lying in bed and talking about the chemistry between them, she said he broke the news to her: He had herpes. She kicked him out of her house.
Her outbreaks, she said, have been repeated and painful. She took anti-viral medication, but it caused large amounts of her hair to fall out. She suffered from anxiety and depression, and the drugs she took for that caused her weight to balloon by 30 pounds.
Vogt praised his client as a "heroine" for standing up to hold a "dangerous" man responsible.
"Ninety-nine percent of the people who find themselves in (her) situation simply wring their hands and do nothing," Vogt said. "They know if they file a lawsuit, it's going to be hotly contested. It's going to be embarrassing. It's going to be massively unpleasant."
Vogt asked jurors to establish a standard by sending a message that in a "civilized society" sex partners must tell one another if they have an STD, and that relationships must not "be governed by the law of the jungle."
Defense attorney Shawn Lillegren tried to chip away at the woman's credibility by arguing that she was lying about her sexual history and may have had sex with other men who gave her the disease.
This is the source material.
So, basically, this bitch is mad because opening her legs had a negative consequence. And for all you femme fighters on here, yeah -- I guess he should've disclosed that. But why is she puttin'-down on the first date anyway? She doesn't deserve a penny more than what it would cost to get checked and whatever. But 100,000G short of a million dollars? I don't think so.
What's everyone else's take on this? Leave your responses below!
Wow, this sounds like "male bashing" to me. Of course the man is at fault - aren't they always? The fact is, if you're going to trawl the internet for sex, you can get more than you bargained for. Why not wait until you know the person before jumping in the sack?
"Woman is a violent and uncontrolled animal... If you allow them to achieve complete equality with men, do you think they will be easier to live with? Not at all. Once they have achieved equality, they will be your masters." Cato the Elder
If this idiot dentist had so much money, why the hell was he not living and retired in THAILAND, where he can get as much sex as he wants?
f***ing idiot. IF YOU HAVE MONEY, GET THE f**k OUT OF AMERICA.
This happened locally and was pretty big news. I have mixed feelings about it. Of course, no one is in favor of spreading shit. But if she goes unprotected that's the risk she took.
As I understand it, he was an idiot for admitting it afterwards.
But considering the rate of Herpes is so high, the amount awarded to her was insane.
BTW, my doctor told me that there is no foolproof accurate herpes test, so that fact that prior to having sex with him she "had a clean bill of health" is nonsense.
He's guilty for not disclosing his health problem. She's guilty for having sex with him early, but Duh, women do that because ultimately their most valuable asset is what is between her legs. She f***ed him to lock him in because she landed a whale.
Why he wasn't in Thailand is one of the dumbest things I've seen but its not shocking seeing who it came from. Dude is a dentist, I hardly think he even thought about moving to Thailand to have largely meaningless sex with a bunch of blankity blank Asian women. That's mostly a fantasy of White middle aged factory workers, retired military, middle management types and service sector employees.
Not of 6-7 digit medical professionals. He is also 70 years old and as I have said before, while a woman's value peaks in her mid-20's and falls like a rock after age 40, a man's appeal largely carries into his mid 50's. But the closer he gets to retirement age... All bets are off. He likely thought he hit the jackpot with a woman 30 YEARS YOUNGER THAN HIM.
I don't know about million dollars or whatever, but she is entitled to at least help with her medical condition, after all he was the one carrying the disease and likely f***ed up her social life forever.
This is not a case of Maginas as you called it protecting women this is RIGHT/WRONG issue.
Anyone who is stupid enough to have a relation with an American woman deserves to get f***ed.
BOYCOTT AMERICAN WOMEN. Have nothing to do with them. What is so f***ing hard for you dickheads to understand?