Stillwater News Press

May 14, 2013

HIV-positive plaintiff can remain anonymous, judge says

By Russell Hixson
Stillwater NewsPress

PERKINS, Okla. — An HIV positive man suing the Payne County Jail will remain anonymous throughout the case, a judge ruled Monday.

His identity had been hidden by a temporary protective order as the court waited for a ruling on the issue.

The former inmate alleges he was mistreated in the jail because of his HIV status and requested anonymity citing historic stigmatization of those with the illness. After a 50-minute hearing Judge Stephen P. Friot granted the motion for leave to proceed under a pseudonym.

In the suit’s petition the anonymous Payne County resident, referred to as “John Doe” alleges the jail put him in an isolation cell because of his health status. Doe further alleges the jail allowed him to go 11 days without his HIV medication after his two bottles ran out.

The suit claims this violates the American’s With Disabilities Act and the plaintiff is seeking more than $75,000.

In court filings the jail’s counsel tried to argue against keeping John Doe’s identity hidden.

“The plaintiff should be prepared to accept the public scrutiny that is an inherent part of public trials,” read the defense’s objection. “The plaintiff shouldn’t be allowed to go around publicly degrading the defendants in the media and elsewhere while he comfortably hides behind the cloak of ‘John Doe.’”

A scheduling order signed by the defense and the prosecution show the case is set to go to trial in February.