Massive STD Award in Muscatine

Mark Twain once said that that “I remember Muscatine for its sunsets” which he insisted was unparalleled in the world. Now, the town may be better known in legal circles for a difference kind of distinction. In what may be a record for an STD case, a jury in Muscatine, Iowa, awarded Karly Rossiter $1.5 million after Alan Evans gave her genital warts. She claimed that Evans assured her that he was free of sexually transmitted diseases.

Rossiter and Evans began dating in December 2004. Only a few days after they had relations, Evans asked if she was tested for A papilloma virus, which causes genital warts. By 2005, she had developed the condition.

STD lawsuits are increasing common. There is an obvious assumption of the risk defense in negligence and consent in intentional tort. However, the failure to discuss — or misrepresentation — can lead to liability ranging from battery to fraud to negligence. Well known figures like Robin Williams Michael Vick have been the subject of such lawsuit. Once reluctant to rule on such cases, courts now treat the failure to disclose as a conventional tort. These damages, however, are much larger than average.

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7 thoughts on “Massive STD Award in Muscatine”

  1. The Iowa Supreme Court denied further review of this case on March 10, 2010, leaving the appellate court’s decision to affirm the jury’s findings intact.

  2. The Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed this decision on December 30, 2009.$1.5M-Verdict-in-STD-Infection-Case.html

    The opinion:

    According to the opinion penned by Judge Potterfield, when Evans “began seeing Rossiter, he was also seeing two other women, one of whom eventually gave birth to his child. He described that woman to Rossiter as having a distinct odor related to bacterial vaginitis.”

  3. One consequence of the decline in sex education, as pushed for by religious fundamentalists and abetted by hypocritical politicians, is a proliferation of situations like this. That is of course not the whole picture. The macho male attitude, as taught by the advertising arm of Corporate America, is one of sexual selfishness and entitlement.

    Women are objectified as means of instant gratification, but according to beer commercials the most fun besides sex is with your male buddies. Catering to a young male demographic relationships and marriage are portrayed as the end of fun, to be put off for as long as possible. In this mixture of sexism and misogyny the male bears little responsibility to his sexual partners since his own pleasure is paramount.

    Women too have also been careless in the spread of STD’s, but with different reasons, except those that are merely callous. Commercial America has put emphasis on the need for a women to only have value if she has a man. It has convinced women of their unattractiveness, unless of course disproved by having a man. For some women they will ignore their own physical well-being if only some guy will profess and demonstrate his ardor.

    We live in a society that is confused and hypocritical about human sexuality. On the surface we proclaim abstinence and/or heterosexual sex in marriage as our norms. We know well what takes place below the surface, but in our hypocrisy damn it. I’m glad that these precedents are being established, not because they might diminish unmarried sexuality, but because it gives us a small chance to begin to view sexuality from a more realistic perspective.

  4. Not until 2005 in the case of Martin v. Ziherl, 607 S.E.2d 367 (Va. 2005) did the Virginia Supreme Court recognize this cause of action. Instead, we operated under the rule in Zysk v. Zysk, 387 S.E.2d 466 (Va. 1990), which barred these suits by unmarrieds since the conduct was deemed fornication and hence “illegal” under Virginia’s ancient criminal statute. The participants thus were deemed involved in a criminal enterprise and the Courts would not aid either side in the harm inflicted. In Virginia enlightenment comes, but at a snails pace.

  5. Always having more than a bit of concern toward IDs, ‘across the Boards’, as it were, I can tell you genital warts are nasty in terms of follow-up.

    These cases are referred out to a STD Clinic, where the staff are equipped and familiar, rather than manage them, ourselves, with limited resources in either a URO and or OB/GYN practice – even though we ‘could’, medically.

    They are instantly much more able to provide a better standard of care because of their focus, knowledge, expertise, and because of their access to the local community.

  6. That is one sweetheart of a guy. If he knowingly gave this lady genital warts, that award isn’t enough. Isn’t intentionally getting someone sick a crime? If not, it should be.

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