Woman wins $900K after contracting herpes from sex partner
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The four-day trial wrapped up last week and required Multnomah County jurors to decide who was at fault, whether the man intentionally exposed the woman and what is fair monetary compensation after acquiring a sexually transmitted disease, The Oregonian newspaper reported.
The 49-year-old woman won nearly every penny she was seeking against her 69-year-old suitor, a retired dentist from Portland, although the initial amount wasn't immediately known.
"He was 69, my client was a very attractive 49. My argument to the jury was he just wanted to sink his hooks into her," the plaintiff's attorney, Randall Vogt, told the Los Angeles Times.
The jury found that the man was 75% at fault, while the woman was 25% responsible. The jurors also decided that by exposing her to the STD, the man committed battery and made her suffer greatly, The Oregonian said.
"We all felt he should have told her - he had the responsibility to tell her," juror Noah Brimhall told the newspaper.
Genital herpes is relatively common, affecting 1 in 6 people between the ages of 14 to 49, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The woman, who used a pseudonym to protect her privacy, met her potential paramour on the online dating site eHarmony. He also was not identified. The pair reportedly had sex on their fourth date in May 2010.
During the trial - believed to be the first of its kind in Oregon â€”- the plaintiff testified that she asked him to wear a condom and thought he had put one on. But after having sex, she learned otherwise, and he admitted he had genital herpes, she said.
She reportedly suffered a herpes outbreak 11 days after the sexual encounter, and said she became depressed and even started losing her hair from an anti-viral medication.
Vogt, the plaintiff's attorney, said that sex partners owe it to one another to be honest about what diseases they may have and not "be governed by the law of the jungle," according to The Oregonian.
But defense attorney Shawn Lillegren struck back at the woman's story, claiming it was equally her responsibility to ensure his client was wearing a condom.
"Grow up. Come on. You're an adult. He's an adult. They had sex," Lillegren told The Oregonian. "The point is she is not some little innocent victim."
It's unclear if Lillegren plans to appeal the decision.
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