US: Baseball star’s ex-girlfriend drops civil suit alleging HIV exposure

May 14, 2009

A US$15 million civil suit that made US headlines in February (but which I did not report on my blog at the time) that alleged that a well-known US baseball player “knew or should have known” that he was HIV-positive and accused him of “gross and wanton negligence” for repeatedly refusing to undergo testing while allegedly exposing his ex-girlfriend to HIV, was settled out of court this week.

According to MLB.com (the Major League Baseball website):

Ilya Dall, 31, filed the lawsuit in court in Brooklyn, N.Y., in January, alleging that the former Major Leaguer tested HIV-positive in February 2006. [He] denied those allegations, saying he was in good health and that her suit was made to “hurt” him and that it was “full of lies.”

According to The Associated Press, an order from a judge Tuesday said a settlement had been reached before the two were scheduled to appear Friday for an initial conference in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.

“The complaint was withdrawn, which means the lawsuit was withdrawn with prejudice,” Charles Bach, who represents [the baseball player], told ESPN.com. “That speaks for itself. It is over.”

According to an earlier story in The New York Times, her motivation may have been his decision to sell the house she and her two children, from a previous relationship, were living in, after their break-up last autumn.

There was never any question that he did not disclose his status after he allegedly tested HIV-positve, nor that she was infected.

The suit may have been influenced by the case of Bridget B. and John B. which made headlines in July 2006 when the California state supreme court ruled that people can be sued for transmitting HIV to a sexual partner, even if they don’t know their HIV status. The case was last heard in November 2008 when a Los Angeles judge tentatively ruled that John B. acted with fraud and malice and ordered him to pay his former wife US$5 million in future loss of earnings and US$7.5 million in general damages. He had previously ruled that Bridget B. had justifiably trusted her husband until she had a reason not to.