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Boyles v. Kerr

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Kerr filed a claim for Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress after Boyles, with the assistance of his friends, recorded Boyles having sex with Kerr.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    A plaintiff can only recover mental-anguish damages following a negligent infliction of emotional distress claim if the defendant breached a legal duty.

    Facts.

    Boyles, with the assistance of his friends, recorded Boyles having sex with Kerr. Boyles showed the videotape to 10 of his friends, and then gossip following the tape spread to Kerr’s friends and universities. Kerr did not discover the tape until four months later, when she confronted Boyles and obtained the tape. Kerr filed suit for Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress (NIED) and the jury granted judgment to Kerr. The court of appeals affirmed.

    Issue.

    Whether a plaintiff can only recover mental-anguish damages following a negligent infliction of emotional distress claim if the defendant breached a legal

    Held.

    Yes. The judgment of the appellate court is reversed. Because Kerr filed a NIED claimed, Kerr was required to show that Boyles and his friends breached a legal duty owed to her.

    Discussion.

    A plaintiff can only recover mental-anguish damages following a negligent infliction of emotional distress claim if the defendant breached a legal duty.


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