Johns Hopkins Faces $1 Billion Lawsuit by Research Subjects Infected with STDs
Government experiments during the 1940s and 50s in Guatemala infected more than 700 research subjects, and family members, with sexually transmitted diseases, according to a Baltimore Business Journal article. The report states John Hopkins, a leading authority on STDs at the time, played a central role in the study. Defendants named in the class action suit include not only John Hopkins’ University, Hospital and School of Medicine, but also involve the 100-year-old nonprofit Rockefeller Foundation and New York pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. Details of this controversial study surfaced previously during a 2011 federal bioethics review, which resulted in the 2012 dismissal of a prior class-action lawsuit.
STD Laws in New York
Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) law falls under tort law. Generally, a tort occurs when the act of a person – whether intentional or careless – causes an injury to another’s person or property. If it is proven that a tort has occurred, the party who committed the act may be held liable for monetary damages to the victim. New York health law requires an individual who is carrying an STD to disclose this fact to a partner prior to engaging in any sexual contact. Specifically, the law states, “any person who, knowing himself or herself to be infected with an infectious venereal disease, has sexual intercourse with another shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.” In other words, failure to disclose knowledge of an STD to a sexual partner is a crime.
While the law does not express a specific list of venereal diseases, the most commonly accepted relating to this law include herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea, hepatitis, HIV/AIDs and other contagious disease spread through sexual contact. While someone found guilty of violating this law would be charged with a misdemeanor, punishment includes up to one year in jail and a monetary fine of up to $1,000. If a defendant is found guilty of reckless endangerment, which is conduct that creates a serious risk of death and shows indifference for human life, the crime becomes a felony. Punishment includes a jail sentence of up to seven years and a fine up to $5,000.
STD Laws NY: Things to Consider
STD laws NY cases can be difficult to prove. Due to the incubation period for different types of venereal diseases and their ability to remain undetected for some time, it is important to retain a knowledgeable and skilled STD laws NY attorney to handle your case. The skilled attorneys at Levine & Blit, PLLC, LLP will handle your case with full regard for your privacy. Call (212) 967-3000 today to schedule your initial consultation.