January 4, 2010
Man Files $30 Million Negligence Lawsuit After Contracting HIV
34-year-old Percy Whiteman of Toronto is filing a $30 million lawsuit against his HIV-positive ex-wife, Thai-born Suwalee Iamkhong, along with the Canada Border Services Agency, Immigration Canada and the Zanzibar Tavern—where she worked as a stripper—for negligence, claiming that failure to test her when she arrived in Canada in 1995 led to his contracting the virus, Canoe.com reports. Iamkhong’s lawyers are fighting to have the lawsuit dismissed.
“The government failed to conduct an HIV test,” said Whiteman’s lawyer, Maurice Benzaquen. “Percy is suffering from this illness because the government failed to protect him.”
The case is the first filed against federal immigration authorities over a lack of HIV tests, which are now mandatory in Canada for immigrants older than 15.
According to the article, Whiteman married Iamkhong in 1997. She was a go-go dancer and sex worker in Hong Kong before immigrating to Canada, and they divorced in 2004 when she told him she was HIV positive. In 2007, Iamkhong was sentenced to two years in prison after being convicted of criminal negligence causing bodily harm. She appealed her sentence and had it reduced to two years less a day, which allowed her to appeal a deportation order.
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