Did They Know? Actions for Contracting a Sexually Transmissible Disease

In a recent decision from Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal the issue of legal action for contracting a sexually transmissible disease was addressed.

In the case of Lopez v. Clarke, So.3d, 40 FLW D779 (Fla. 4th DCA 4-1-2015) the Plaintiff filed a lawsuit for battery and fraudulent concealment of a sexually transmissible disease. The appellate court reaffirmed Florida’s law which provides that in order to succeed on such an action the Plaintiff must prove that the defendant had the disease, knew that he/she had it, and fraudulently concealed the disease or misrepresented that they did not have such a disease.

In the Lopez case the court noted that “actual knowledge” of the presence of the disease is required. The court went on to find that because the defendant had consulted a urologist shortly before starting his sexual relationship with the plaintiff, was tested, and obtained what he reasonably believed was a clean bill of health, the defendant lacked the requisite state of mind for both the fraudulent concealment and battery claims.

Thus in order to be successful on these transmissible disease claims one must establish that the guilty party knew such disease was present.