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Mussivand v. David

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Defendant was having an affair with Plaintiff’s wife when he transmitted a STD to Plaintiff’s wife. Plaintiff’s wife later transmitted the disease to Plaintiff. Plaintiff brought suit against Defendant claiming Defendant owed Plaintiff a duty of care to inform his wife of the STD or to thwart the STD’s transmission. The trial court dismissed the case, and Plaintiff appealed. The appellate court ruled in Plaintiff’s favor, and Defendant appeals. 

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    If one has a sexually transmitted disease, he or she owes his or her lover’s foreseeable sexual partner a duty of care.

    Facts.

    Physician George David, Defendant, had a sexual relationship with Dixie West, the wife of Tofigh Mussivand, Plaintiff. Plaintiff brought suit against Defendant asserting that Defendant had transferred a sexually transmitted disease (STD) to Plaintiff through his wife. Plaintiff asserted that Defendant was negligent in failing to inform his wife of the STD or to otherwise thwart its transmission. The trial court ruled in Defendant’s favor and dismissed the case on the grounds that Defendant did not owe a duty of care to Plaintiff. Plaintiff appealed, and the appellate court reversed. Defendant appeals. Defendant’s motion to dismiss on the ground that he did not owe a duty of care to Plaintiff. An appellate court reversed. Defendant appealed.

    Issue.

    Whether one with a sexually transmitted disease owes his or her love’s foreseeable sexual partner a duty of care.

    Held.

    Yes, one with a sexually transmitted disease owes his or her love’s foreseeable sexual partner a duty of care.

    Discussion.

    If one has a sexually transmitted disease, he or she owes his or her lover’s foreseeable sexual partner a duty of care. A reasonable person would expect that sex between an STD-carrier and another person would likely result in such other person’s spouse or other foreseeable lover obtaining the STD. Defendant is a medical doctor with knowledge of how the STD is transmitted and spread. Further, Defendant knows the STD’s effects. In this case, it is still unclear whether West knew of David’s STD, and that is an issue that the jury must resolve. Nonetheless, this court finds that Plaintiff’s action if not barred, and the appellate court’s finding is affirmed.


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