A Fairfax City woman is suing her estranged husband for $4 million, claiming that he infected her with genital herpes.
The suit, filed Monday in Fairfax County Circuit Court, also accuses Paul K. Duvall of Centreville, Va., of battery, alleging that he beat Linda D. Duvall in front of their children. She is seeking an added $350,000 in connection with that claim.
Brian D. West, Linda Duvall's attorney, has declined to comment on the case. Paul Duvall could not be reached for comment.
Joseph A. Condo, president of the 1,300-member Fairfax County Bar Association, said yesterday he was not aware of any similar suits that had been filed in Virginia.
The suit claims that from the time Linda Duvall was married in 1976 until she filed a divorce action against Paul Duvall in 1984, she did not engage in sexual relations with anyone other than her husband.
Mrs. Duvall claims that about 12 days after having sex with her husband in November 1983, she went to her gynecologist, complaining of physical discomfort and skin eruptions, and that the condition was diagnosed as being caused by the Herpes Simplex II virus.
She claims that her husband knew, or should have known, that he carried the virus, and that by having sex with her he might expose her to the incurable disease and possibly infect her for life.
Mrs. Duvall says, among other things, that she now suffers from herpatic symptoms, which include periodic extreme fever, deep pelvic pain and herpes lesions.
The lawsuit asks for $500,000 in damages on each of eight civil counts relating to her herpes condition. Specifically, she accuses her husband of fraud and deceit, negligence, battery and the intentional infliction of emotional distress.
She also claims that shortly after being diagnosed as having herpes, her husband attacked her verbally and physically in front of their minor children.
The suit is part of a growing number of cases nationwide concerning sexually communicable diseases, and a person's right to know the health of a sex partner.
The best known such case, perhaps, is the $14 million lawsuit filed this month by Marc Christian, who lived with the late Rock Hudson.
Although husbands and wives have long been able to file civil suits against each other in Virginia, people are increasingly less hesitant about going public with complaints that involve such sensitive issues as AIDS or herpes, said Condo, who specializes in domestic law.
"It was only a matter of time before somebody filed a suit like this," he said.