A jury awarded nearly R70 million to a 56-year-old woman who said she was unknowingly infected with herpes by the 77-year-old founder of a hair-care company.
The lawsuit alleged that Thomas Redmond knew he had genital herpes for more than 25 years, but did not disclose it before his sexual relationship began with Patricia Behr, and did not use a condom.
The Riverside County jury awarded Behr R40 million in compensatory damages and R27.5 million in punitive damages. She was also awarded a 2004 BMW car that Redmond had originally given her as a gift.
Redmond is the founder of Redmond Products Inc., which was the maker of the Aussie line of hair-care products. The company now belongs to Procter and Gamble Co. The defendant's lawyer, Robert M. Frisbee, said the verdict is "outrageous" and his client will seek to have it overturned.
Lawyer brands ruling 'outrageous'
Frisbee said Behr failed to prove it was Redmond who infected her with herpes, and that she had sex with him knowing that he had the incurable sexually transmitted disease.
"The jury decided they didn't like a wealthy man for no particular reason I can find out. It's not based on reason or common sense," Frisbee said. The lawsuit claimed that Behr suffered unnecessary stress and
humiliation as a result of the defendant's conduct, which it called "outrageous and beyond the bounds of decency".
During their romantic relationship, which began in September of 2003 and ended in June of 2004, Behr and Redmond became partners in a small business.
(Sapa, February 2009)
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