Le Lézard
Classified in: Health
Subjects: LAW, MAT

Texas Jury Enters a $2.45 Million Verdict Against Houston-Area Pastor for Transmitting Herpes


HOUSTON, Oct. 16, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- SBEMP Attorneys, LLP announces that a Harris County, Texas jury has entered a verdict against Ralph Douglas West II, finding him liable for transmitting genital herpes to a Houston woman. Mr. West, a Houston resident, is an assistant pastor at The Church Without Walls also located in Houston.

Houston pastor pays big price for breaking the law by transmitting herpes to woman after lying about having the disease.

The jury, in D.C. v. Ralph Douglas West II (Cause No. 2020-18991), found West liable to the plaintiff for battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and fraudulent concealment. The jury's award was $1,450,000 in compensatory damages and $1,000,000 in exemplary/punitive damages. The total judgment of $2.45 million is believed to be the largest ever awarded in Texas for a case of this nature.

Shaun Murphy, a partner in the law firm Slovak Baron Empey Murphy & Pinkney, LLP, who represented the plaintiff, says that he is pleased with the outcome for his client whose life has been so negatively impacted, and he hopes that it will increase awareness of this extremely important issue.

"Let this verdict send a resounding message across Texas and the entire nation: Those with sexually transmitted diseases must disclose their status before engaging in sexual activity," said Murphy. "In every U.S. state, it's illegal to transmit STDs without informed consent. It is considered fraud, carrying potential civil liability for significant damages."

In addition to the legal issues, Murphy points to the physical and mental health challenges suffered by victims of such negligent behavior. "Those harmed by others' negligence or intent have legal recourse, particularly as STDs like herpes can cause serious health complications beyond the core symptoms of the disease. There can also be considerable embarrassment, shame, and stigma associated with a herpes diagnosis that can substantially interfere with a patient's relationships and mental well-being for the rest of their lives." 

The Houston case is one of several trial victories and settlements Murphy has achieved on behalf of victims of genital herpes transmission throughout the United States. He has achieved the largest verdict in the United States and in the states of California, Washington, and Texas.

For more information about Shaun Murphy, visit https://sbemp.com/shaun-murphy/.

SOURCE Slovak Baron Empey Murphy & Pinkney


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