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Doe v. Roe

California Court of Appeal
267 Cal. Rptr. 564 (1990)


Facts

In 1985, shortly after Richard Roe (defendant) asked Jane Doe (plaintiff) out, the subject of venereal diseases came up. Doe said she had none and would not put herself in a position to contract one. Roe replied, “I don’t blame you, I wouldn’t want one either,” but failed to disclose his three previous outbreaks of genital herpes. The two dated for four months, having sex without condoms once or twice a week. Even though Roe did not have an outbreak during the relationship, Doe contracted herpes and sued Roe for negligent transmittal of the disease. The trial court found Roe liable for $150,000 in damages. Roe appealed, arguing he had no duty to disclose his condition or take preventive measures because he believed he could not transmit herpes without an outbreak. Roe contended that little was known about asymptomatic transmission of herpes in 1985, so the risk of harm was unforeseeable, and no duty of care arose.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Smith, J.)

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