Recognizing theories of recovery for a tort committed an estimated six million times per year in the United States alone at an annual cost in excess of $4 billion is logical—if not imperative. Not all jurisdictions, however, recognize theories of recovery when the tort in question is the wrongful transmission of herpes and human papillomavirus (“HPV”), two of the most common, incurable sexually transmitted diseases (“STDs”) in America. Nevertheless, in Deuschle v. Jobe, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District of Missouri took a significant step by acknowledging an unmarried sexual partner’s right to bring negligence and intentional tort claims for the transmission of the STDs. Contending that wrongful transmission causes of action sounding in negligence and intentional tort should be recognized, the Note begins by setting forth the facts and holding of Deuschle, and then provides an overview of genital herpes and HPV. Next, this Note surveys the legal landscape of tortious transmission cases involving these two STDs and examines the public policies that factor into the decision whether to allow tortious transmission actions. After exploring Deuschle in detail, the Note seeks to uncover the roadblocks to recovery that exist even when causes of action are recognized.
Michele L. Mekel,
Kiss and Tell: Making the Case for the Torious Transmission of Herpes and Human Papillomavirus,
66 Mo. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/mlr/vol66/iss4/7