Key Decisions

May 2013 – Having HIV Is A Disability

(filed under: Key Decisions Archive | May 20, 2013)

Having HIV Is A Disability

Maureen K. v. Tuschka
(Cal. Ct. of App., 2d Dist.), filed April 17, 2013


Maureen K. had an umbilical hernia that needed to be repaired. Dr. Theodore Tuschka was her anesthesiologist. Minutes before surgery, Dr. Tuschka stopped the procedure because he discovered Maureen K. was HIV-positive and he was fearful that he could be exposed to and contract HIV.

Maureen K. sued for unlawful discrimination based on her contention that because she was HIV-positive, she was disabled.

The trial court submitted the question of whether Maureen K. was disabled to the jury. It found she was not disabled and that there had been no discrimination based on disability.

The Court of Appeal reversed. It held the trial court prejudicially erred by submitting the issue of whether Maureen K. was disabled to the jury. The Court ruled a person with HIV is disabled as a matter of law.