Bisexuality and the law?
November 11, 2007 5:36 PM   Subscribe

Calling all legal experts. Is it a potential lawsuit when a bisexual male does not disclose the fact he's active bisexual while he's actively involved with a heterosexual female?
posted by GoodJob! to Law & Government (77 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Wow, don't think so! What if he was an active heterosexual while involved with a female? Point being, does it really matter who else he is fucking or is the fact that he is fucking others, period?
posted by 45moore45 at 5:38 PM on November 11, 2007


...unless this somehow crosses into fraud, I can't imagine how it could be.

Of course, IANAL.
posted by Tomorrowful at 5:38 PM on November 11, 2007


You can sue anyone for anything in this great country - presuming you're talking about the USA - but unless there were obvious damages (for example, did he knowingly infect her with HIV?), I'd guess it'd get thrown right out of court in most jurisdictions.
posted by ikkyu2 at 5:39 PM on November 11, 2007


Everything is a potential lawsuit. Whether it's a potential winner or just a potential money pit is a different question altogether. Are you in the mood to spend the next year or two being deposed, gathering documents, testifying under oath at trial, and paying an attorney?
posted by The World Famous at 5:39 PM on November 11, 2007


No. And please examine any homophobic assumptions you may hold that bisexuals, or homosexuals, are somehow automatically vectors of death, please.
posted by occhiblu at 5:39 PM on November 11, 2007 [24 favorites]


IANAL, but I think the answer is almost certainly no.
posted by dhammond at 5:42 PM on November 11, 2007


The tags mention HIV and STDs.
posted by 517 at 5:47 PM on November 11, 2007


Hmm...I am not a lawyer, but allow me to take a stab at a possible argument that wouldn't necessarily get a lawyer laughed out of court or sanctioned for filing a frivolous suit.

Suppose the heterosexual woman was intensely homophobic. Now, suppose the bisexual man knew about this homophobia. Suppose the man and woman began a sexual relationship, and further suppose that they publicly acknowledged the nature of their relationship.

Now suppose that the man, in a public setting, disclosed that he had been involved with another man the entire time and generally shamed and humiliated the woman by association.

It is possible that the woman could make out a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, although the success of such a claim would probably rely on careful selection of a sympathetic (i.e. homophobic) jury. Depending on where the trial were held, that would be more or less easy.

Of course, that's all very hypothetical. I think a whole lot more factual background is in order, especially regarding HIV or other STDs.
posted by jedicus at 5:49 PM on November 11, 2007


No; you're quite safe.
posted by topynate at 5:52 PM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


*spits drink onto screen*

Nope. No. No way. Weird. Uh-uh. Not even.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:53 PM on November 11, 2007


Occhiblu, I think it's a valid question, given that any homosexual activity in the last 30 years disqualifies one as a blood donor. I'm not saying it's right (and indeed, I believe it to be unjustly discriminatory), but one might infer that the FDA's position reflects a general attitude by the government that if you are a man who has sex with other men, your bodily fluids may be assumed to be deadly. And if that's the case, then it's not a small leap to imagine that someone might use that argument as the basis of a lawsuit as described by the OP. So yes, I'd have to say it's a potential lawsuit. Frivolous, perhaps, but someone could well believe it to be worth pursuing, which was the OP's question.
posted by mumkin at 5:54 PM on November 11, 2007


Women are shamed when men fool around on them, period. I don't know if I would feel any more deceived to find out my alleged significant other was boinking a female or a male. Just finding out I was dating a man-whore is bad. Am I entitled to compensation because man-whore decided to boink another man instead of maybe another female? Is there one that is any more humiliating than the other? Cheating is cheating.
posted by 45moore45 at 5:54 PM on November 11, 2007


I'm still waiting for hiv and other std results but he knowingly exposed me or infected me with genital herpes. He had a nasty outbreak while I was with him but failed to disclose that history nor did I find out he is bisexual till end of the relationship.
posted by GoodJob! at 5:56 PM on November 11, 2007


Ah, I saw the tags. Well, if you know that you have an STD you're duty bound to take effective measures not to infect your partner. This normally involves telling the partner. Should you do so, you're safe.

I'm using the 'indefinite you', of course.
posted by topynate at 5:57 PM on November 11, 2007


GoodJob, his sexual orientation has precisely nothing to do with the fact that he's an asshole for not telling you he had an STI.

And, yeah, you really need to examine your own homophobia there.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:02 PM on November 11, 2007 [6 favorites]


Straight people cheat and pass on stds all the damn time. You can sue him for knowingly exposing you to herpes, but bringing in his bisexuality just makes you look like a homophobe. A cheat is a cheat, a jerk is a jerk, whether straight, bisexual or gay.
posted by lia at 6:03 PM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Please see the many other questions about genital herpes. It is highly unlikely that you will win any suit over herpes (maybe if you were pregnant?); nor will you be allowed to raise his sexuality in court, should you have the desire to do so.

There is nothing in law requiring you to tell a partner about your sexuality. That he has herpes, and is bi, tells you little about whether he has HIV. One might even say it tells you nothing. Might I suggest the use of a questionnaire or a t-shirt with a pointed message in future, if you're worried about bisexuals?
posted by topynate at 6:04 PM on November 11, 2007


You could just as easily have gotten herpes from a straight partner who was running around as from a bisexual one. Do you think herpes spreads more rapidly via gay sex? Or that bisexuals have twice as much sex, thereby putting you at a higher risk? Being attracted to twice as many sexes doesn't mean you have twice as much sex.
posted by tepidmonkey at 6:05 PM on November 11, 2007


I'n not homophobic. I just don't have the desire to date a bisexual with genital herpes and that's precisely what happened to me. He failed to disclose all information about himself. I feel the need to sue. Do I have a case?
posted by GoodJob! at 6:06 PM on November 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


The herpes is the relevant fact here, not teh ghey.

You'll have to show damages. Emotional damages are possible. Log your headaches, note your sleepless nights.

That's assuming herpes itself hasn't been passed along.
posted by ibmcginty at 6:10 PM on November 11, 2007


No, you do not have a case. People break up with their partners all the time because they found out their partners were not who they thought they were. No, you cannot sue over this. You don't have a case for the bisexuality.

The genital herpes is an entirely separate issue from the bisexuality. I am 99% positive that because it does not cause death you would not have a case over this. Heck, not even all states allow people to prosecute if their partner gives them HIV. Then there's the difficult of proving he knowingly and maliciously infected you with the disease. I mean, entering a sexual relationship is unfortunately not equivalent to entering a contract wherein both parties are required to lay out their history on the line or risk punishment.
posted by schroedinger at 6:14 PM on November 11, 2007


not unless he is legally bound by marriage to the woman. then she would have grounds for a civil suit, but not a criminal one.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:16 PM on November 11, 2007


The trouble is, what information is necessary to disclose, what isn't? If he had HIV and knew, he needed to tell you, of course. It would also be fairly easy to prove that he'd infected you. Not so with genital herpes. Lots of people have that. You might have had it already, and not known (or so he might claim). You might have got it later, from someone else. Etc., etc.

And suppose you show a causal connection. 45 million Americans have it. Do you believe that they would all win lawsuits?

Perhaps you are rich and can afford a really excellent lawyer to drain this cheatin' bastard dry, but is it worth it?
posted by topynate at 6:19 PM on November 11, 2007


"I just don't have the desire to date a bisexual with genital herpes..."

Again, these have nothing at all to do with each other.

Guy like guys and didn't tell you? Meaningless, and probably legally irrelevant.

Guy gives you herpes and knew it at the time? Quite possibly legally relevant. But totally unrelated to the gender of his other sex partners.
posted by Tomorrowful at 6:20 PM on November 11, 2007


Does he have HIV? Because that's a potential criminal case, even if you weren't infected. If he knowingly exposed you to herpes, you might have something, but given that herpes itself isn't as bad as the rap it gets, I have no idea if it would be worth it and I've never heard of a case like this that didn't involve HIV. But IANAL and you should probably consult one.

And let's give GoodJob! a bit of a break about the homophobia, she just found out her boyfriend infected her with an std and was lying to her on multiple levels and is currently waiting for her HIV test to come back. Now is not the time.
posted by whoaali at 6:21 PM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't blame you for being flaming mad about the herpes, but it sounds less like a lawsuit and more like something you post on http://www.dontdatehimgirl.com/ . Wouldn't a good lawyer for the defense drag your sex life through the mud as much as you would focus on his sex life? Wouldn't the judge most likely rule that it is up to anyone to engage in due diligence before having sex with anyone? Lawsuits and insurance claims are long drawn out matters that will suck more energy and money than you can imagine and might take two years of your life. Do you really want this person front and center in your life for the next two years?
posted by 45moore45 at 6:25 PM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


This may sound like a derail, but I promise I'm getting to the point of whether you have a case.

Is this really worth it? Sure, the herpes thing is distressing, and I'm really hoping that all your tests show big fat 'negatives' now, and six months from now.

But the bisexual thing. That's what I'm tripping on. What does his bisexuality have to do with your question? Why did you mention it? What is really going on behind your thought process to inspire you to bring this to court--the STDs, or the feeling of violation?

If it's honest to god the STDs, wait it out and find out your result in 6 months, when it's definitive. Then decide whether or not to sue.

If it's the fact that you feel used by "a bisexual with genital herpes," perhaps reconsider the whole suing thing. I mean, you didn't even mention the herpes/other STIs in the original question, only in the tags (and then, in the case of herpes, only obliquely). Are you really angry about the infection, or about the fact you were dating a lying schmuck?

Honestly, if you're going to try to end up suing this with "He's bisexual and he lied about it," I can't see it going anywhere except to be mocked on the news. If you honestly want to sue over the STIs, you might have a case. Listen to ibmcginty on that. You need to show damages.

It also might not be worth it, except to channel your anger into an expensive and draining court case. Punching bags might be cheaper.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 6:26 PM on November 11, 2007


You can sue him for knowingly exposing you to herpes, but bringing in his bisexuality just makes you look like a homophobe.

No, it doesn't. It's a perfectly understandable worry that she might have HIV and in now way makes her homophobic.

And considering the bad news she's gotten, people should probably lay off the personal attacks.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:27 PM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Also, my condolences on the fact that your ex is a big fat ball of douche. I'm hoping things turn out ok for you.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 6:27 PM on November 11, 2007


You have a case of herpes you didn't see coming. That's enough to make anybody cranky.

I suggest you wait until you don't feel a need to sue before making a decision on whether or not you will. Lawyers cost much more than herpes ointment.

IANAL too.

What's the mefi analog of "eponysterical" for disclaimer acronyms?
posted by flabdablet at 6:29 PM on November 11, 2007


One thing that I think you need to consider is if you ever specifically asked him if he was bisexual. Did he lie to you about this or was it just never brought up?

IANAL, but it seems you'd have a better chance at a case if he specifically told you he was STD free and 100% heterosexual. But what do I know? It's just my two cents.
posted by Becko at 6:33 PM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow, does his bisexuality have anything to do with the herpes? Suing because he is bisexual is bigotry.
posted by jmgorman at 6:42 PM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Herpes is the issue here, not bisexuality. Your former partner had exactly zero obligation to tell you he was bisexual. Yes, it would have been nice and saved everyone a pile of pain, but he didn't have to and he chose not to.

The herpes issue is, obviously, different. While you may be perfectly clear that he is indeed the partner who gave it to you, your chances of winning a lawsuit are slim, even in the US.

Your first outbreak can happen years after exposure, so it is almost impossible to prove that this partner gave it to you, even if you know he did. Large percentages of people never get any symptoms, so it is possible that you picked it up from a previous partner and neither he nor you never even knew - and his lawyer will point that out. You could end up spending a lot of money for absolutely nothing, and be even angrier and more victimized in the end.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:42 PM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


If he'd told me he is a bisexual I would not want to date him. I don't have anything against bisexuals, I just prefer to be with a straight man. I am not homophobic. I know the fact he has herpes has nothing to do with the fact he's bisexual. He has clearlt shown he very deceptive and possibly dangerous if he has HIV too. I am extremely upset and this metal anguish is causing me distress. I go for my HIV test tomorrow and my OB will do other tests for me in a couple days. I just can't believe the law can't help me given the level of my distress.
posted by GoodJob! at 6:46 PM on November 11, 2007


Wait. Are you upset because he exposed you to STDs or because he is bisexual? The two things are completely separate issues.
posted by k8t at 6:51 PM on November 11, 2007


A recent, fairly bats article called Sex Torts reviews at pages 22 to 30 the current law on suing people for intentionally and negligently exposing a partner to an STD. There are a lot of cases listed about herpes. (I am providing the cite to this article only because it includes the current law on torts and STDs. I disagree with its premises, assumptions, conclusions, etc.)
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 6:59 PM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Isn't a missing piece of the puzzle whether men who have sex with men have higher rates of STDs? If so, then it's a pertinent fact when choosing/rejecting male sex partners. If not, then Mr Arsewipe's sexuality is neither here nor there.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:01 PM on November 11, 2007


PS to Good Job! -- if you read the article I linked, please take her review of the impact of herpes with a grain of salt, or just skip that part. Some huge proportion of the population has some form of herpes; for many people, it is not that bad or they don't even know they have it because it's so minor/asymptomatic.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 7:05 PM on November 11, 2007


"I'm still waiting for hiv and other std results but he knowingly exposed me or infected me with genital herpes. He had a nasty outbreak while I was with him but failed to disclose that history nor did I find out he is bisexual till end of the relationship."

1) Lesson to be learned: Fuck with the lights on, DUH. There's no excuse for you not seeing his herpes outbreak and saying "dude, wtf?"

2) Can you prove that he gave it to you and not vice versa? Did he actually tell you that he knew he had herpes before ever having met you? Just because he came out to you as bisexual at the end of the relationship does not immediately mean that he had herpes before meeting you or while in a relationship with you.

Sorry, the whole victim act just doesn't pass with me.
posted by dossy at 7:11 PM on November 11, 2007


You have absolutely no legal recourse for the fact that you dated him without knowing he was bisexual, that he deliberately withheld this information, or even if he flat out lied about it. None. Not even if he was cheating on you with other guys. The law cannot help you in this.

The traditional remedy for finding out you dated a liar (of any kind) is to get some friends round, bitch the fuck out of the bastard, burn the old tshirt he left at your place and live on icecream for a week, while your friends constantly remind you not to make those abusive phone calls you're thinking of.
posted by jacalata at 7:11 PM on November 11, 2007 [5 favorites]


It's entirely possible that you had herpes long before you knew him, didn't know it, and you gave it to him. Ipso facto, no case.

And, yeah, bisexuality has absolutely nothing to do with anything.
posted by Reggie Digest at 7:15 PM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


GoodJob, I think people are reading into your message an assumption on your part that bisexuals are somehow more prone to (a) deception, (b) genital herpes, and (c) HIV. That's causing people's fur to get raised up.

He has a sexually transmitted disease; he failed to tell you. His bisexuality wasn't an influence on that; it didn't make him more likely to practice unsafe sex, nor did it make him more likely to have a disease, nor did it make him more likely to deceive you. He could have been a heterosexual man who had genital herpes, practiced unsafe sex, and endangered your health.

Your question as asked strictly relates to his bisexuality. IANAL, but the answer to whether deceiving you with regards to his bisexuality is grounds for legal action is almost certainly: no, you can't sue him for being bisexual and not telling you.

However, with regards to the act of giving you genital herpes, there's a whole website you'll want to explore, including possible criminal action against him. (And Google search.)
posted by WCityMike at 7:23 PM on November 11, 2007 [4 favorites]


So uhm, I mean, I'm saying...at what point did protecting ones self from exposure to STD's become the responsibility of someone other than yourself?

Basically, what you're asking reads this way to me:
"I didn't bother to have protected sex and/or I was involved in risky sexual activity with someone who turned out to have an STD and now I've got it. I want to sue him.""Oh, and he's a manfucker too, and now I'm traumatized because I thought I was the only one he was riding bareback."

That's how I'd see it on a jury too.
posted by TomMelee at 7:25 PM on November 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


Have you received test results indicating you're actually infected? After all, you may be looking to sue over a dodged bullet.

Also, you've got the HIV tag up there but only mention genital herpes. Has he told you he's HIV positivetoo, or are you just guessing that because he's bi and has herpes that he may have HIV too?
posted by JaredSeth at 7:46 PM on November 11, 2007


Herpes is the issue here, not bisexuality.

I understand your anger, but if you'd mentioned the STD in the post rather than his sexuality, you wouldn't be getting so much flak from folks here. Also, your title is "Bisexuality and the law?"

But now that you've clarified, it would be nice if folks would accept that and stop beating you about the head. Your question is, "can you sue someone for failing to disclose they have an STD?" This New York firm claims cases involving herpes have been won. This lawyer in Baltimore claims to be a leader in the field of STD litigation. Find a lawyer in your state who deals with personal injury and medical cases, and get a free first consult.
posted by mediareport at 7:51 PM on November 11, 2007


WTF? Seriously?

If you had unprotected sex with anyone and that resulted in contracting an STD that's your fault as much as his.

And yeah, you sound homophobic to me.
posted by FlamingBore at 7:51 PM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


GoodJob, I'm sorry that this guy lied to you and hurt you. You're obviously angry and frustrated. Go vent, punch a wall, get drunk, write angry letters you'll never send. But the idea that bisexuality is a lie of such magnitude as to be criminal is pretty frustrating to hear.

Look, we all knowingly take the risk that relationships with other people expose us to the possibility of pain. What, are you going to arrest yourself for reckless endangerment of your peace-of-mind? Think about all of shitty things that people do to hurt each other that are even worse than what you're going through. Please consider letting go of the idea of avenging his dishonesty through the legal system, of all venues. It is unfortunately often not a crime to be an asshole, and you don't need a judge to tell you that anyway.
posted by desuetude at 7:53 PM on November 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


"If he'd told me he is a bisexual I would not want to date him. I don't have anything against bisexuals..."

Hilarious.

Anyway, you claim the issue was about STDs, but your question doesn't mention them at all. You asked if you sue someone for being "actively bisexual" while dating you. You cannot. (Well, you can try, but you won't win.) It sucks to find out someone is cheating on you, but it's not illegal.

If you want to make this about STDs, make it about STDs. If you want to make it about bisexuality, make it about bisexuality. Stop confusing the two.
posted by CrayDrygu at 7:57 PM on November 11, 2007


Probably not. Even if there is legal basis, the courts don't like these suits much (these suits = those only alleging emotional distress). People's feelings get stomped on all the time. That doesn't mean that you can always get vindication from the courts.

Bisexuality has absolutely nothing to do with it.

I don't have time to do a full canvassing of the cases, but even knowingly giving someone HIV can be a tough case, for many of the reasons that are chronicled above (i.e. sex without at least two consensual adults is a crime, but it's a different statute)
posted by craven_morhead at 8:00 PM on November 11, 2007


Is it a potential lawsuit when a bisexual male does not disclose the fact he's active bisexual while he's actively involved with a heterosexual female?

It sounds like something you would see some crazy woman showing up on Boston Legal wanting to sue about.

You claim that you are not homophobic. However, the fact that you are putting your partner's orientation on the same level with infidelity suggests that you should re-examine that statement.
posted by slavlin at 8:02 PM on November 11, 2007


IANAL, LAYL, and TINLA

That being said, if your partner intentionally infected you with an STD, you have a prima facie case for battery. Emphasis on intentionally, I'm afraid.

If he should have known that he was a transmission vector, and didn't take proper care to avoid infecting you, you might have a claim for negligence.

Either way, if you want to pursue it, consult a lawyer for preliminary advice before you confront your partner.
posted by electric_counterpoint at 8:10 PM on November 11, 2007


Shoot, my carefully-constructed acronym tags weren't passed. That disclaimer stands for, "I am Not A Lawyer, Let Alone Your Lawyer, and This is Not Legal Advice."
posted by electric_counterpoint at 8:11 PM on November 11, 2007


It seems like there might be a negligence suit if he knew he had a transmissible STD and didn't tell you about it or take precautions, and led you to believe that you were safe ... I have no idea if that would get you battery (that seems like it'd need to be intentional, rather than just negligent), but it might get you civil damages.

But the bisexual thing? No, that's not really actionable, at least not in any way that I think is going to win you anything.

If you're going to push anything, it's the STD angle, not the gay/bisexual one. The only reason that would possibly be germane is because male/male sex is medically classified as a "high risk" activity by some authorities with regards to STDs.

But the fact that you didn't want to date a bisexual person and then you ended up doing it and now you're grossed out doesn't strike me as something you can sue over.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:35 PM on November 11, 2007


I'm no lawyer, but:

You can't sue him for lying about his sexuality. He is an asshole for lying about it, but you can't sue him for that. It's not against the law to lie about most things.

You might possibly be able to sue him if he intentionally exposed you to disease. (See advice of others above.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:52 PM on November 11, 2007


The law isn't designed to keep people from hurting your feelings. Loving (or even just fucking) someone is risky business. People lie, cheat, and spurn you, physically and emotionally. None of this is illegal unless you have some sort of legal contract (marriage, pre-nup, etc.) or unless a law is broken. I'm sorry your story has taken a turn you didn't expect, since it will make it that much harder to open up your life to others for some time, I'm sure. But remember that thing your parents used to tell you when you said "NOT FAIR!"? That's right. Life's not fair. And at the end of it, you die.

Can't sue anyone for that, either.
posted by hermitosis at 8:57 PM on November 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


While I agree with a lot of people that the original post was, to put it mildly, misleading and needlessly inflammatory, I'm also a little surprised at the number of people here who have categorical answers to this question without knowing in which jurisdiction the poster lives. My inclination is that she doesn't have a case, but if she were my client, I'd be obligated to research the laws of her jurisdiction before I told her that. I think mediareport's answer is the right one.
posted by lassie at 9:01 PM on November 11, 2007


Sorry, I screwed up that link to mediareport's comment.
posted by lassie at 9:05 PM on November 11, 2007


To a judge, saying "I never would have dated him if I knew he was bisexual" would probably be just like saying "I never would have dated him if I knew he left his dirty socks on the bathroom floor."

As others in this topic have said, you're really hung up on this issue and it's not going to get you anywhere legally. The herpes thing, maybe... and if you feel the "need," as you say, to sue, then go for the herpes thing.

Not that I'm encouraging you to sue... I think you need to give this some time to settle down a bit before you make massively embarrassing or financially devastating decisions.
posted by joshrholloway at 9:11 PM on November 11, 2007


Can't help but refer to the recent Williamsburg Avenger FPP -- " Hell hath no fury like a hipster infected [with genital herpes."

BTW -- the sexual orientation of your partner has no bearing on the situation. Current statistics indicate that transmission of STDs, including HIV/AIDS cross all boundaries -- M2F, F2M, M2M, F2F.
posted by ericb at 9:36 PM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


People are irritated by your post because you seem to make assumptions about bisexual people being more likely to spread HIV. If you were having unprotected sex with this person, you are exposing yourself. Herpes is one thing, because it can be spread just with skin-to-skin contact in the genital areas even without fluids, but HIV is different. I'm not going to assume that you didn't use protection because you never explicitly said that, but your vague post and comments suggest it.
Really, you should have thought more carefully about the wording and title of your post since it's quite confusing as-is.
posted by fructose at 9:37 PM on November 11, 2007


You can't sue someone for lying to you about anything else (except disease) in a relationship, why is this any different?
posted by !Jim at 10:28 PM on November 11, 2007


AIDs is not an equal opportunity disease, so the fact that he's bisexual is relevant. If you need to report male/male sexual encounters before giving blood, why isn't this expected trading fluids?
posted by null terminated at 11:30 PM on November 11, 2007


It depends, I'd talk to a lawyer.

I don't think you're (necessarily) homophobic. Lying to anyone you're boinking about your sexual orientation is going to piss them off, especially if you're lying to them AND cheating on them. And, as bisexual men are reputed by some sources to have a higher risk of HIV, I can see why you're concerned.

Herpes isn't all that bad, it won't give you cancer, it can be uncomfortable but it might not ever cause you symptoms. Count yourself fortunate if that's all you got from this bastard, and ALWAYS USE A CONDOM. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS. NO MATTER HOW NICE HE SEEMS.

Good luck.
posted by sondrialiac at 2:48 AM on November 12, 2007


I just can't believe the law can't help me given the level of my distress.

The faulty assumption behind this non-sequitur led to the unfortunate wording of your question, rather than any homophobia on your part.

Your misery is only relevant if it is the result of specific legally proscribed behaviours and even then only as one factor among many. I, thankfully, am not feeling your pain and I know it is the centre of your world right now. The purpose of the law, however, is to enable functioning nations and societies, not to eliminate suffering.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 2:55 AM on November 12, 2007


I'm not a lawyer, but I've watched court TV :-). I think to sue you need (A) to prove he gave you the herpes, not someone else - an email where he admits it would help, and (B) prove monetary damages, like medical fees, psychiatry fees related to this, etc. For every fee, you need to prove its related to the herpes or the pain you suffered as a result of this guy lying to you. I don't think you will get anything more than that, so tally up your expenses and see if they merit sueing.
posted by xammerboy at 8:11 AM on November 12, 2007


i don't get why all of you are coming down so hard on GoodJob!. the fact that he lied/misinformed her about his bisexuality is a huge dealbreaker. i wouldn't want to date a bisexual just as i wouldn't want to date a vegetarian or a Bush supporter (for the record i'm not equating these, just enumerating) - we all have our preferences if it comes to our partners and we do have the right to pick those partners with lifestyles that are most compatible with ours. that doesn't make us homophobic haters but people who have preferences.
posted by barrakuda at 8:46 AM on November 12, 2007


Yeah, I kind of have to agree with barrakuda, the one situation where a person's sexuality is entirely relevant is, you know, if you are in a sexual relationship with them. Not as relevant as whether they have an STD or whether the person is faithful or not, but right up there.

This isn't to say I think you can sue, suing for emotional distress has an extremely high burden, and I would be extremely impressed by any lawyer that could meet it for him lying about being bi or cheating alone. The STDs well that another story entirely, but yeah the law doesn't generally regulate assholery.

IANAL
posted by whoaali at 8:59 AM on November 12, 2007


Alright. Apparently the flogging has commenced without me...

Basically... As many others have said, you CANNOT sue someone for not telling you about their sexual orientation/preferences.

Additionally, in regards to "suing" over the herpes, you would have to prove 1) That you got it from him, 2) That he KNOWINGLY exposed you to herpes, and 3) That he INTENTIONALLY gave you herpes.

In other words, you would have to show beyond a doubt that you have not been intimate with anyone else who has it and might have given it to you. You would also have to show that he was aware of the fact that he had herpes/was having an outbreak... Finally, you would have to show that it wasn't an accident that you contracted herpes (i.e. that he did it on purpose, and that it wasn't simply a matter or bad timing/luck, human error in using protection, etc.)

Unless he's sent you an e-mail saying something like, "Ha ha! I gave you herpes! Just as I intended all along!".... I sincerely doubt you will be able to carry that burden of proof.

The same basically goes for HIV, to be honest. You would have to show that he knew his status... and even an HIV+ person who knows their status does NOT have to disclose their status to a sexual partner. They DO have to use reasonable precautions to protect said partner from infection, however. But all bets are off if that person has no idea that they are positive...

Your situation sucks, and it never feels nice to be cheated on or lied to. I understand freaking out... but to be honest, if you weren't using condoms, you should have been freaking out LOOOONG before you found out he was bisexual.

Moral of the story. Use a condom, or don't have sex.
posted by Mookbear at 9:01 AM on November 12, 2007


In other words, you would have to show beyond a doubt that you have not been intimate with anyone else who has it and might have given it to you. You would also have to show that he was aware of the fact that he had herpes/was having an outbreak..

Ok, yeah this is not the standard of proof for civil cases, she would not have to show beyond a [reasonable] doubt any of these things. That incredibly high standard is only for criminal cases. The standard would probably be by "clear and convincing evidence". I have absolutely no idea if GoodJob! could meet that burden, but it would not be beyond a reasonable doubt unless doubt, unless it was a criminal case.

Also,

Finally, you would have to show that it wasn't an accident that you contracted herpes (i.e. that he did it on purpose, and that it wasn't simply a matter or bad timing/luck, human error in using protection, etc.)

Unless he's sent you an e-mail saying something like, "Ha ha! I gave you herpes! Just as I intended all along!".... I sincerely doubt you will be able to carry that burden of proof.


This is entirely wrong. Please don't pay attention to this. There are many kinds of evidence that can be introduced in a civil trial, I'm not saying you have that evidence but him flagrantly admitting to it, is not the only way to prove it. You need to go to a lawyer. Also, for negligence there doesn't have to be intent, in fact that's the whole point of the tort of negligence.

Negligence = Duty of care + breach of that duty + causation (in fact and proximately) + damages

Once again, I'm not saying you have a case in negligence, I'm just point out that Mookbear is totally misstating the law. You need a lawyer, please please go talk to a lawyer.
posted by whoaali at 9:19 AM on November 12, 2007


Go ahead and sue. Our legal system is meant to be used for individuals' carelessness and subsequent regret.

/sarcasm
posted by ThFullEffect at 9:26 AM on November 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


"If I had known he was married, I would not have dated him. He lied to me. Can I sue?"

Cheating is morally wrong, but it is not legally wrong, and however much it hurts, I don't think any of us *really* want to live in a country where our sexual behavior is regulated by civil or criminal law.

Absolutely he should have told you he was bi and absolutely he shouldn't have cheated on you. But it's not grounds for a suit.
posted by happyturtle at 9:30 AM on November 12, 2007


Go ahead and sue. Our legal system is meant to be used for individuals' carelessness and subsequent regret.

/sarcasm


Ok, I know I am more than a little bias when it comes to defending our legal system, but I think I really have to here.

I hate this attitude that many people have that if a person is reckless with their own person, they should get whatever is coming to them. As if they are morally at fault, rather than the person who has wronged them. If you leave your house unlocked, it is likely it will get burglarized, however there is nothing inherently immoral about leaving your house unlocked. And it doesn't somehow make it any less wrong that someone else took advantage of that person's carelessness. Same goes for a woman walking home alone in a really bad part of town, this may be very very unwise, but she doesn't deserve to get raped. And she deserves just as much justice for the crimes committed against her as anyone else. When prostitutes get killed we still charge their murderers with murder, even though street walking is extremely dangerous and women in that position are extremely vulnerable to abuse. The law is supposed to protect the weak and vulnerable.

And now back to this situation, first I'm guessing a lot of people here have not used condoms within the context of a monogamous relationship. In fact most people don't after a certain point in time. So I don't think that GoodJob! was necessarily even being reckless, but without knowing the details who knows. And even if she was, she didn't deserve to get an STD. It may have been a very unwise risk, but if she was STD free and faithful she was only risking herself and there isn't nothing immoral about that. However, it is highly immoral to abuse that vulnerability and trust and I have no problem with the law backing that up.
posted by whoaali at 9:39 AM on November 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


Furthermore, since: HIV is much more prevalent among men who have sex with men than among heterosexual men, and male-to-female transmission is greatly facilitated by open sores on the infected male's genitals, and GoodJob now knows that her ex is casual about sex, cheating, lying, condoms, and STDs; it's reasonable that she (and we, and maybe the courts) should consider his bisexuality part of his bad behavior here. If he'd done the same as he has, but had sex only with women, he'd have been putting her at much less risk.

This doesn't make bisexuals bad people; but the fact of this man's bisexuality makes his other bad behavior worse.
posted by nicwolff at 10:11 AM on November 12, 2007


Can you sue in a real court? Talk to a lawyer, but likely no.

Can you sue in the court of Judge Joe Brown or any of the other post-Wapners? That's the venue I'd pursue.
posted by klangklangston at 2:08 PM on November 12, 2007


Additionally, in regards to "suing" over the herpes, you would have to prove...3) That he INTENTIONALLY gave you herpes.

That's ridiculous, and you should stop talking out of your behind in legal threads. There's a difference between negligent and willful actions, and the law recognizes that even if you don't. Again, Goodjob!, talk to a lawyer in your state.
posted by mediareport at 3:11 PM on November 12, 2007


klanglkangston: People's Court, Judge Judy, etc. - though ripe for hilarity and absurdity - actually follow legal doctrine. I saw a People's Court once where a woman was suing for emotional distress for her dog in the wake of some really traumatic vet visit. She was shot down despite the really nasty stuff that was done to this poor dog. And that is because American law doesn't recognize tort claims for animals (because animals are property, and as good as inanimate as far as the law is concerned). So you might go the TV route (which is actually something like a binding arbitration experience and not an actual court proceeding), but it would probably be more embarrassing than anything else.

Meanwhile, I just wanted to clarify the definition of "intentional" when used in the context of a tort claim. You don't have to intend to give someone herpes (or hit them with your truck, or break their neck, or make them cry). You just have to be undertaking a volitional act that ultimately does that. Any other definition would be really limiting, and people could say things like, "No! I didn't mean to break her neck, I meant to break her arm! So you can't sue me because her neck got broken instead!" Which is...well...ridiculous. So he didn't have to intend to give you the herpes, he'd just have to intend to have sex with you. Just the MeFi lesson in torts for today.
posted by greekphilosophy at 6:28 AM on November 13, 2007


He failed to disclose all information about himself. I feel the need to sue.

On the off chance that you're still reading this...

I'd be very surprised if there's any legal requirement to disclose "all information about [oneself]" in a dating relationship.

Being legally required to disclose one's STD status to partners? Perhaps.

Being legally required to disclose one's bisexuality? Very, very, very doubtful. If he were 100% straight, and cheated on you with a woman, I highly doubt he'd be legally required to disclose that, too.
posted by CKmtl at 8:21 PM on November 15, 2007


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