As We See It

Can you sue a hookup for passing on an STD?

Can you sue a hookup for passing on an STD?

Sometimes the aftereffects of an encounter arranged on a hookup app last longer than the walk of shame.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported December 1 that a local man is suing a California woman he met on Tinder, alleging he contracted genital herpes as a result of their relations and accusing her of “fraudulent misrepresentation, battery, constructive fraud, willful misconduct, gross negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.”

Court papers filed by the man and cited in the R-J allege the woman lied about not having the disease when he addressed the possible risk of STDs if they didn’t use protection. We asked Matthew Minucci, an attorney at the Cottle Firm in Las Vegas, whether the man’s argument holds up in court.

“Generally speaking, her lying to him and misrepresenting to him … I think that definitely gives rise to some kind of liability,” Minucci says, adding he believes the man could be partially at fault for not taking every precaution, and that he would need to prove he was disease-free before the liaison and that the woman’s non-disclosure led to his contraction of genital herpes.

Minucci says a suit like this likely wouldn’t be pursued due to legal expenses, but the woman’s job as a Hollywood producer changes the situation. “Lawsuits aren’t cheap,” he says. “It’s likely that there are some assets there that would lead to a significant recovery for this man.” As legal precedent, he points to an Oregon case that concluded earlier this year, in which a man was ordered to pay a woman $900,000 for passing on the same disease—even though the jury found the woman 25 percent at fault.

Minucci sees such non-disclosure as a moral issue that can become a legal one (like not disclosing HIV-positive status, which is a felony in Nevada), but advises: “Always be truthful, always be honest. If it’s going to cost you something short-term … it wasn’t meant to be.”

Tags: Health
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