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Brandon v. County of Richardson

    Brief Fact Summary.

    A mother sues local government for negligence, wrongful death, and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED) due to the events that lead to murder of her daughter.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    A person in a position of power who exhibits extreme and outrageous conduct shall give rise to a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED).

    Facts.

    JoAnn Brandon (Plaintiff) sued Sheriff Charles Laux (Defendant) and County of Richardson (Defendant) because of their roles in the events that led up to the murder of her daughter Teena. Teena, born a female, identified as male and began dating a woman in a nearby town. John Lotter and Thomas Nissen raped and beat Teena. Teena reported the incident to Laux, who questioned Teena about the incident in an extremely graphic manner. Additionally, Laux knew of Lotter’s and Nissen’s criminal past and the threats they made on Teena’s life. Teena was found murdered along with two other persons. Lotter and Nissen were later convicted of the murders.

    Issue.

    Whether a person in a position of power who exhibits extreme and outrageous conduct can be held liable of a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED).

    Held.

    Yes.

    Discussion.

    To determine whether conduct is extreme and outrageous an objective standard and the relationship between the involved parties are important factors to consider. Mere insults, annoyances, or other trivial matters do not give rise to level of extreme and outrageous conduct that would be sufficient enough to support a tort claim.



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