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Hedgepeth v. Whitman Walker Clinic

980 A.2d 1229 (2009)

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Hedgepeth v. Whitman Walker Clinic

District of Columbia Court of Appeals

980 A.2d 1229 (2009)

Facts

Terry Hedgepeth (plaintiff) learned that his girlfriend was being treated for HIV and went to Whitman Walker Clinic (WWC) (defendant) to be tested. The intake worker mistakenly noted on the paperwork that Hedgepeth was HIV-positive. After Hedgepeth’s blood was tested, showing a negative result for HIV, WWC misinterpreted the test and noted Hedgepeth was HIV-positive on a Client Lab Results form. WWC then met with Hedgepeth and told him he was HIV-positive. For the next five years, Hedgepeth believed he was HIV-positive. Hedgepeth suffered from severe emotional distress, lost his job, suffered from an eating disorder, and used illegal drugs. Hedgepeth also had suicidal thoughts and was committed to psychiatric wards on two occasions. Hedgepeth also had sex with a woman he knew was HIV-positive. Hedgepeth was eventually tested at a different medical clinic and discovered he did not have HIV. Hedgepeth sued WWC for negligent infliction of emotional distress. WWC filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that Hedgepeth was never exposed to a zone of physical danger. The trial court granted the motion, and Hedgepeth appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

Concurrence (Ruiz, J.)

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