Brief Fact Summary. Plaintiff Gerlach alleges Defendants physically attacked him and Plaintiff Taylor, Gerlach’s daughter, alleges she witnessed the attack. Gerlach sued for damages stemming from his physical injuries while Taylor sued for the emotional distress she suffered from witnessing the attack.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. For one to recover for emotional distress when she has experienced no physical injury, she must establish that the Defendant intentionally caused her to suffer from severe emotional distress.
Issue. Did the trial court err in dismissing Taylor’s complaint for intentional infliction of emotional distress?
Held. No. The dismissal was affirmed. When a Plaintiff seeks to recover for emotional distress but does not allege any physical damage, she is required to prove that the emotional distress was intentionally inflicted upon her by the Defendant. When a Defendant is not even aware of the Plaintiff’s presence or does not commit the acts causing the distress with the intention of causing Plaintiff such distress, the Defendant has not intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon the Plaintiff.
We are constrained to determine only whether appellants state a cause of action, not whether they might have been able to do so.View Full Point of Law