Explore BrainMass

Case study of "intentional infliction of emotional distress"

One of the most recently "invented" and most controversial of the intentional torts is that of "intentional infliction of emotional distress." This tort allows a person to recover damages even without sustaining any physical damage. However, the elements necessary for this tort are not easy to establish.

To illustrate this, let's look at the following scenario: George is an employee of the Charlotte Bobcats basketball team, a team based in Charlotte, North Carolina. George has a contract that guarantees his job for 5 more years. However, George's boss, Jerry wants to get rid of him NOW! Thus, Jerry resolves to make conditions so uncomfortable for George that he has no choice but to leave the job.

Pursuant to this effort, Jerry has the air conditioner in George's office turned off in mid July. He also convinces everyone else in the company to stop speaking to George. In addition, Jerry taps George's work phone line and plays George's personal conversations over the company loud speaker.

George sues Jerry under a theory of intentional infliction of emotional distress, alleging all of these actions. Jerry moves to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that even if everything George alleges in the complaint is true, George has failed to allege an adequate basis for liability under a theory of intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Please draft a memorandum/essay answering the following question:

Under North Carolina case law, is Jerry correct, or should the court deny the motion to dismiss?

Solution Preview

The tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress has four elements: (1) the defendant must act intentionally or recklessly; (2) the defendant's conduct must be extreme and outrageous; and (3) the conduct must be the cause (4) of severe emotional distress.

The court ...