Local business owner Michael King and his restaurant chain Monell’s have both been named in a $1 million lawsuit over negligent HIV transmission, filed in Nashville by Tommy Fowler.
Intentional HIV transmission is a class C felony in the state of Tennessee that is equal to assault. Fowler claims "that he failed to bring criminal charges against King because the District Attorney’s office refused to act on his charges."
It is the first civil case on record in the state of Tennessee regarding negligent HIV transmission.
Fowler, a former Monell’s employee, alleges that he was wrongfully terminated by King after Fowler refused to have unprotected sex with one of King’s friends.
Fowler is represented by Nashville attorney Robert Turner. Turner is the third attorney to be retained by Fowler since being terminated by King.
The handwritten lawsuit claims that King willingly and knowingly infected Fowler with HIV while the two engaged in unprotected sexual activity numerous times between March and December of 2003, after King assured Fowler that he was negative.
The lawsuit also states that King insisted that Fowler engage in unprotected sex with many of his friends on numerous occasions. Fowler claims that many of these liaisons happened in the second floor office of Monell’s main restaurant in Germantown district of Nashville.
Fowler said he tested positive in December 2003 for HIV infection.
“I’m doing this (filing the lawsuit) for the sake of all of the people who he has infected intentionally before me and all those who could be infected because they don’t know about him,” said Fowler.
King and his attorney, Steve Grace, declined comment except to point out that King had previously taken out an order of protection against Fowler after King brought criminal charges against him for stalking. Upon being asked if he was HIV positive, King also declined to answer.
King admitted during those "order of protection" court hearings that he and Fowler had a physical relationship.
Fowler, who admits to following King, has remained unemployed since his dismissal from Monell’s and claims that he remains unemployed because of the criminal stalking charges on his record that prevent him from passing a background check.