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Lane v. Kindercare Learning Centers, Inc.

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Lane sued Kindercare Learning Centers, Inc. for closing down the daycare and forgetfully leaving her child within the center without any employees present.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    Damages for emotional distress can be recovered if a personal contract is breached.

    Facts.

    Katherine Lane (Lane) enrolled her daughter in Kindercare Learning Centers, Inc. (Kindercare) and gave the daycare prescribed medication to administer to her daughter. When Lane arrived to the daycare to retrieve her daughter all of the lights were turned off and no employees or children were there. Lane called 911 and a police officer saw Lane’s daughter sleeping in a crib through a window, broke the window, and retrieved Lane’s daughter. Lane’s daughter also was not given her medication. Lane sued Kindercare for emotional distress and breach of contract, while Kindercare moved for summary judgment. Kindercare’s motion for summary judgment was granted and Lane appealed.

    Issue.

    Whether damages for emotional distress can be recovered if a personal contract is breached?

    Held.

    Yes. The trial court judgment is reversed. Because Lane’s contract was of a personal nature, Lane can recover emotional damages for breach of contract for the care of her daughter.

    Discussion.

    Damages for emotional distress cannot be recovered in commercial contracts but can be recovered in personal contracts because personal contracts are concerned with mental solicitude. Similarly, damages for emotional distress do not require proof of physical injury.


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