Jury Awards Record-Breaking Damages in Houston Pastor’s Genital Herpes Case
A jury found Ralph Douglas West II, an assistant pastor at The Church Without Walls in Houston, liable for transmitting genital herpes, awarding $2.45 million in damages to the unidentified plaintiff, Fox 26 reports.
This is one of the largest verdicts in Texas for a case of this nature. The breakdown of the damages included $1,450,000 in compensatory damages and an additional $1,000,000 in exemplary or punitive damages. the ruling encompassed charges of battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and fraudulent concealment.
“We truly hope this verdict sends a strong message to people throughout Texas and the United States who are infected with sexually transmitted diseases that they must disclose having the disease before engaging in sexual intercourse with any others,” said the plaintiff’s attorney, Shaun Murphy. “Knowing they have a legal remedy is also important for those who have suffered harm after being infected due to another’s negligent or intentional conduct.”
The case is among a series of trial victories and settlements secured by Murphy on behalf of victims of genital herpes transmission across the United States.
“I suspect there are many people who don’t know that in every state in the U.S., it is unlawful for a person who knows they have a sexually transmitted disease to communicate the disease to another person through sexual contact or even to have sexual contact with another person unless they have informed their partner that they are infected with a sexually transmitted disease,” Murphy said. “It is considered fraud to knowingly endanger another person, exposing the person who transmits the STD to potential civil liability for substantial monetary damages.”
West II’s verdict sends a clear message about the legal obligations associated with transmitting sexually transmitted diseases. It serves as a significant legal precedent in Texas and beyond.