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Woman Wins $900K in eHarmony Herpes Lawsuit

By Andrew Chow, Esq. | Last updated on

A woman looking for a husband on eHarmony instead got genital herpes from her date, who must now pay $900,000 for the woman's pain and suffering.

It's the first case of herpes transmission to go to trial in Oregon, the woman's attorneys told The Oregonian. The woman's identity was not disclosed.

While some states have laws against intentionally spreading HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases, Oregon does not. But that didn't stop the woman from winning her case.

The woman, a 49-year-old divorcee, filed a civil lawsuit against the 69-year-old eHarmony date who gave her herpes, alleging battery for intentionally engaging in an activity (sex) that resulted in harm (herpes).

The woman also sued the man for negligence, alleging the man breached a duty to the woman by infecting her with herpes. The man knew he'd carried herpes since 1991, but testified he thought he was no longer contagious, the Associated Press reports. The pair had sex on their fourth date; the man disclosed his herpes infection immediately thereafter.

Using the legal concept of comparative negligence, jurors found the woman was 25% to blame for her own injuries, while the man was 75% responsible. That reduced the jury's award by 25%, resulting in a $900,000 verdict.

"We all felt he should have told her -- he had a responsibility to tell her," one juror told The Oregonian after the verdict.

The woman also filed her lawsuit under a false name. That's generally allowed when a case delves into highly sensitive personal issues, among other reasons. In some states, a court must first approve a plaintiff's request for anonymity.

Cases like the woman's eHarmony herpes lawsuit can also result in criminal charges, such as for assault. But prosecutors declined to press charges because they felt they wouldn't be able to prove a criminal case beyond a reasonable doubt, The Oregonian reports.

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