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Decision In HIV Lawsuit Against Kink.com

The San Francisco Armory

More than two years ago three former Kink.com performers sued Cybernet Entertainment, the company owning the legendary fetish porn website because they think they got infected with HIV during a scene in 2013.  The federal court ruled that the company is not to blame and that the former porn actors should instead seek compensation through Workers Compensation Fund.

Porn actors Cameron Adams, Joshua Rogers, and an unidentified John Doe sued Cybernet Entertainment because they think they contracted HIV on Kink sets during the production of scenes in 2013. But as HIV tests from all scene partners came back negative the court saw no other option but to dismiss their claim. AVN writes: »In absence of a source, no expert could be produced to identify a medically recognized route of transmission.«

US District Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers of the Northern District of California went so far to say that the suit should never have been filed in the first place as the alleged injuries would have happened in the workplace. That means that the three actors should have sought compensation by the Workers Compensation fund and not by the porn company.

Gonzales Rogers took it one step further when she ruled that even if the HIV infections could be lead back to Kink.com sets these infections would have fallen under a clause that says that these are risks »reasonably encompassed within« the actors’ »compensation bargain« with the porn company effectively clearing porn companies from any responsibility as long as HIV tests had been administered and came back negative.

The judge dealt the performers a further blow when she said that even if the plaintiffs could prove that the studio acted with »conscious disregard« to workplace safety the State Fund policy would have excluded »intentional conduct« by the studio. In other words for a lawsuit in civil court to be successful in such a case, the infections would have to be the result of »intentional conduct« by Cybernet Entertainment. That raises several questions though. Is a porn company only responsible for injuries resulting from intentional harm?

Cybernet’s attorney, Karen Tynan, did argue her case along that line: »The ruling confirmed what we have long argued. These cases should never have been filed in civil court. The Plaintiff’s claims were baseless to begin with and not supported by existing medical science. Their claims to intentionality were even weaker. Judge Rodgers ruled that Plaintiffs are limited to recovery within the workers’ comp system. This is a good day for Cybernet, and we thank our coverage counsel for their excellent work.«

The judge noted in her ruling that the three performers did originally indeed file workers compensation claims but later additionally filed civil claims against Cybernet.

Tynan seemed confident that any lingering doubts would resolve soon. »We are taking a look at filing a Motion for Reconsideration to get some clarity around the many footnotes and some of the analysis. However, we just got the ruling today, and we’re digesting it. Overall, this is a good day for us in the overall scope of complex litigation.«



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