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Dickens v. Puryear

Citation. 276 S.E.2d 325 (N.C. 1981)
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Brief Fact Summary.

A man was beaten, during which he was threatened.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress is actionable when the actions of the defendant create an immediate apprehension of harmful contact.


Plaintiff is a neighbor of the defendant.  Defendant had a daughter, 17, who ‘shared in sex, alcohol, and marijuana’ with the defendant’s daughter.  Upon learning about this, the defendants lured the plaintiff into a rural area, and beat him with nightclubs.  While they did soo, they discussed, and voted on whether to kill or castrate the plaintiff.  Plaintiff brings suit for intentional infliction of emotional distress.


Was the plaintiff’s claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress actionable?


Yes, the plaintiff’s claim was actionable.


The court finds for the plaintiff.  They rule that the plaintiff validly raised his claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress, and that consequently his claim was actionable.  The court reasoned that under the facts, there was clearly a legitimate question as to whether the actions of the defendant created an immediate apprehension of harmful contact, and that this was a question for a trier of fact.

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