June 24, 2011
Courts cannot compel Los Angeles County health officials to mandate condom use during the production of adult films, the Second District Court of Appeals in Los Angeles ruled on June 16. AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) filed suit in 2009 to compel such action after reports that a female adult-film performer acquired HIV. The heart of the porn industry is located within the county.
"We cannot compel another branch of the government to exercise its discretion in a particular manner," the three-member panel wrote, upholding a lower court's dismissal on that basis.
"The department continues to support both state legislation to expand requirements of the adult-film industry to include mandatory condom use, and the use of [state workplace safety] regulations to regulate practices in the adult-film industry that expose performers to unnecessary and preventable occupational risks of acquiring and transmitting" STDs, said Sarah Kissel, a county health spokesperson.
Though California law does not require condom use on porn sets, state workplace safety officials have begun drafting rules specific to the industry. AHF has been campaigning for officials to enforce existing rules relating to universal workplace precautions against infectious diseases.
"The county of Los Angeles has the duty to protect public health, one of the highest responsibilities of local government," said Tom Myers, AHF's general counsel and chief of public affairs. "It simply cannot ignore this duty and blithely sit by while thousands of people, both inside and outside the industry, contract STDs." Attorney Brian Chase said AHF intends to appeal to the state Supreme Court.