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Feltmeier v. Feltmeier

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Feltmeier (plaintiff) sued Feltmeier (defendant) for intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED).

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    A claim of IIED may be brought by one spouse against another for things such as abuse that occur while the couple is married and in determining the statute of limitations for such clams, the continuing tort rule is applicable.

    Facts.

    While the plaintiff and defendant were married, an 11-year period, the defendant constantly abused the plaintiff both verbally and physically, stalked her, interfered with her career, and prevented her from finding any outside help to resolve the situation. The plaintiff suffered from severe emotional problems stemming from the abuse such as depression, fear, and loss of self-esteem. Plaintiff brought suit for IIED. The defendant argued the claim lacked substance and the statute of limitations had passed nonetheless.

    Issue.

    Whether a claim of IIED may be brought by one spouse against another for things such as abuse that occur while the couple is married and in determining the statute of limitations for such clams, the continuing tort rule is applicable?

    Held.

    Yes, and Yes. A claim of IIED may be brought by one spouse against another for things such as abuse that occur while the couple is married and in determining the statute of limitations for such clams, the continuing tort rule is applicable.

    Concurrence.

    None

    Discussion.

    Generally, Intention infliction of emotional distress requires: (1) the defendant’s conduct must be extreme and outrageous, (2) the defendant’s intention must be to cause mental distress, (3) the plaintiff must suffer from severe emotional distress, (4) The defendant’s conduct must be the causation of the distress. While public policy does promote marital harmony, it does not promote spousal abuse. Thus, the defendant’s argument that IIED doesn’t apply to claim by spouses lacks merit. It is illogical to argue that spouses will fraudulently bring claims of IIED because the standards to meet such a claim are extremely vigorous. Here, the plaintiff has proved each element of IIED. The defendant’s conduct was outrageous enough to meet the standard. Also, the continuing tort rule will apply. This rule states that the statute of limitations will not begin to accrue until the date of the last injury.


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