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Women claims he infected her with STD

HOUSTON -- Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Jose Lima could have
to pay a woman who claims she contracted genital herpes from him as
much as $950,000, the woman's attorney said Thursday.

A civil jury this week awarded Michelle E. Rudolph $475,000 for
assault and $475,000 for negligence by Lima, attorney Chad Dunn
said.

It will be up to state District Judge Tony Lindsay to determine
whether Lima has to pay out $475,000 or $950,000 when a final
judgment is issued in the case, he said.

Lima's attorney, Raphaell Wilkins, plans to appeal. He says
there is no evidence to support the verdict.

"No judgment has been entered at this time," he said. "We are
confident that this verdict will be overturned."

Earlier this year, another jury had awarded the woman $15,000,
but gave her no money for pain and suffering. A judge then granted
her a retrial.

Dunn claims Rudolph and Lima, a former Houston Astros player,
dated for about two years before the baseball player took a trip to
the Dominican Republic and returned with the incurable virus.

"They had exchanged 'I loved you's' and had enjoyed each other
families and company," he said. "This was certainly a long-term
relationship."

The woman's last sexual encounter with Lima was on Feb. 16. She
was diagnosed with genital herpes on Feb. 21, her attorney said.

Rudolph left almost two dozen phone messages for Lima that went
unreturned before she sought the help of an attorney, Dunn said.

Wilkins said the woman never contacted Lima and went straight to
hire a lawyer.

"Naturally, once we found that out, we had him tested and it
turned out he was positive for the virus," he said.

Lima had no idea he was infected, said Wilkins, who claims 90
percent of people with the virus aren't aware they have been
infected.

"It would be deplorable to try and hold him responsible for
something he did not know he had," Wilkins said. "He could have
easily contracted it from Ms. Rudolph."

Wilkins said he thinks the only reason the lawsuit was filed is
because Lima "is a target as a celebrity and national sports
figure."

Dunn disputed the claim. He also asserts that most people
infected with genital herpes know about it.

Lima, who won 21 games for the Houston Astros in 1999, was
traded to the Detroit Tigers in 2001. He had a 13-5 record with a
4.07 ERA last season for the Dodgers. He is a free agent.

Lima, who is married and has a young son, makes his offseason
home in Houston.