Tort Q: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

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SwampRat88
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Tort Q: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Postby SwampRat88 » Wed Aug 31, 2011 7:11 pm

The last requirement to meet the intentional infliction of emotional distress states: "plaintiff suffers severe emotional distress as a result of the defendant's conduct."

The problem is I am confused as to whether or not the plaintiff must have actually suffered a disabling response, or if it is sufficient that the conduct was of such a nature to cause such a result.

Any help would be appreciated, thanks!

kaiser
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Re: Tort Q: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Postby kaiser » Wed Aug 31, 2011 7:14 pm

The conduct being "of a nature" to cause severe emotional distress says nothing about what result actually occurred. Just because a certain stimulus is such that it would typically cause severe emotional distress doesn't mean it actually had that effect in this case. And if P didn't actually suffer any extreme emotional distress, then you obviously haven't fulfilled all the elements of IIED. So of course you need some sort of "harm" in the form of severe emotional distress. Without harm, there is no claim (I'm talking either emotional harm or physican harm resulting from emotional harm)

Skyhook
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Re: Tort Q: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Postby Skyhook » Wed Aug 31, 2011 7:20 pm

SwampRat88 wrote:The last requirement to meet the intentional infliction of emotional distress states: "plaintiff suffers severe emotional distress as a result of the defendant's conduct."

The problem is I am confused as to whether or not the plaintiff must have actually suffered a disabling response, or if it is sufficient that the conduct was of such a nature to cause such a result.

Any help would be appreciated, thanks!


Given that I'm just a 1L, and have just covered this, others might want to chip in.
But, our torts prof is making it very clear - there must be harm for there to be a tort. If the act could cause that but didn't, then there is no harm.

edit: slow to hit submit!

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Judge Philip Banks
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Re: Tort Q: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Postby Judge Philip Banks » Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:31 pm

Obligatory 1L disclaimer.

But I think in your torts class you haven't gone over causation yet. And the tortfeasor causing the severe emotional distress and the victim actually experiencing the severe emotional distress are really two separate elements (or sub-elements). So, IIED broken down would be 1) extreme and outrageous conduct that 2) intentionally or recklessly 3) causes 4) severe emotional distress. R2T §46 discusses IIED I think, so go on westlaw and explore.

kaiser
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Re: Tort Q: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Postby kaiser » Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:35 pm

Judge Philip Banks wrote:Obligatory 1L disclaimer.

But I think in your torts class you haven't gone over causation yet. And the tortfeasor causing the severe emotional distress and the victim actually experiencing the severe emotional distress are really two separate elements (or sub-elements). So, IIED broken down would be 1) extreme and outrageous conduct that 2) intentionally or recklessly 3) causes 4) severe emotional distress. R2T §46 discusses IIED I think, so go on westlaw and explore.


Not sure how this is relevant. He was merely discussing the harm element and what would fulfill it in a case of IIED. What does causation have to do with OP's question? Of course causation is a necessary element. No one argued to the contrary of that, nor did OP touch upon causation. Perhaps I am misunderstanding your post?

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kalvano
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Re: Tort Q: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Postby kalvano » Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:46 pm

You are all way overthinking this.

The plaintiff must have suffered actual emotional distress caused by the outrageous conduct of the defendant.

There must be actual distress and it must have been caused by the defendant.

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Judge Philip Banks
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Re: Tort Q: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Postby Judge Philip Banks » Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:49 pm

kaiser wrote:
Judge Philip Banks wrote:Obligatory 1L disclaimer.

But I think in your torts class you haven't gone over causation yet. And the tortfeasor causing the severe emotional distress and the victim actually experiencing the severe emotional distress are really two separate elements (or sub-elements). So, IIED broken down would be 1) extreme and outrageous conduct that 2) intentionally or recklessly 3) causes 4) severe emotional distress. R2T §46 discusses IIED I think, so go on westlaw and explore.


Not sure how this is relevant. He was merely discussing the harm element and what would fulfill it in a case of IIED. What does causation have to do with OP's question? Of course causation is a necessary element. No one argued to the contrary of that, nor did OP touch upon causation. Perhaps I am misunderstanding your post?

I think I might have misread OP's question to be asking about whether the victim must experience the distress, or if it is sufficient that the tortfeasor attempt to cause distress.

Regardless, what kalvano said sounds right (and clears up confusion).

morris248
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Re: Tort Q: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Postby morris248 » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:01 pm

There must be actual distress and it must have been caused by the defendant.


That is absolutely correct. Go to your state judicial website and search for some cases. That should clear it up for you.

SwampRat88
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Re: Tort Q: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Postby SwampRat88 » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:50 pm

Thanks for the help everyone, I figured it out. All the original statement meant is that IIED may encompass EITHER physical or non-physical harm, so long as it is severe emotional distress.

kaiser
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Re: Tort Q: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Postby kaiser » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:53 pm

SwampRat88 wrote:Thanks for the help everyone, I figured it out. All the original statement meant is that IIED may encompass EITHER physical or non-physical harm, so long as it is severe emotional distress.


Well, physical harm isn't severe emotional distress in itself (though it could be the direct result of severe emotional distress, i.e. a woman who has a miscarriage due to emotional distress). But I think you got it and I'm just being nitpicky on your wording.

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MrPapagiorgio
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Re: Tort Q: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Postby MrPapagiorgio » Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:04 pm

kaiser wrote:
SwampRat88 wrote:Thanks for the help everyone, I figured it out. All the original statement meant is that IIED may encompass EITHER physical or non-physical harm, so long as it is severe emotional distress.


Well, physical harm isn't severe emotional distress in itself (though it could be the direct result of severe emotional distress, i.e. a woman who has a miscarriage due to emotional distress). But I think you got it and I'm just being nitpicky on your wording.

Not to be further nitpicky or increase the confusion of OP, but isn't the case with severe emotional distress that results in physical only applicable to intentional negligence? Just for my own clarification (thinking about George v. Jordan Marsh)




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