A Westchester County, New York Supreme Court Justice ruled on May 21, 2010 that a psychiatrist, Dr. W, who had sex with his patient, a married woman (Mrs. L) owed a common law duty to tell Mrs. L’s husband, Mr. L, that he, Dr. W, had herpes simplex, before having sex with Mrs. L. Does this make sense so far?
In a case of first impression in New York, and cutting through the red
tape, the judge found that it was not unreasonable to expect that if Dr.
W. knew he had herpes and probably transmitted it to Mrs. L., that Mrs.
L. would probably pass it on to Mr. L, with whom she was having regular
sexual relations. Thus the duty on the part of Dr. W to disclose to Mr.
L that Dr. W had the herpes virus, which to date has no cure. Does this
The bottom line is that Dr. W., before having unprotected sex with Mrs.
L, should have told Mr. L what he was about to do to Mrs. L. If that had
happened, isn’t it pretty unlikely that the case would wind up in
court? Or maybe would find its way to court as an assault and battery
case or even worse.
For some unknown reason, Mrs. L was not made a party to the litigation.
I suspect that none of my readers will be affected nor are planning to
be affected by this decision. Without a thorough review of case law, it
is impossible to state with accuracy whether or not Colorado courts have
yet weighed in on this issue. Still, a word to the wise should be sufficient.
Is this another good enough reason to be monogamous?