Legal Memorandum: Infliction of Emotional Distress Claims in VI

Issue: What is necessary to uphold infliction of emotional distress claims in the Virgin Islands in an employment context?

Area of Law: Employee Law
Keywords: Infliction of emotional distress claims; Employment
Jurisdiction: Federal, Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: 92 F. Supp. 2d 378; 2 F. Supp. 2d 577; 56 F. Supp. 2d 472; 861 F.2d 390
Cited Statutes: Restatement (Second) of Torts, § 46
Date: 09/01/2008

While it is true “that establishing egregious conduct that is necessary for an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim is rare in the context of employment,” it is also rare for the court to dismiss such a claim on a motion to dismiss.  Rivera v. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, No. 02-4160 (D.N.J. Mar. 3, 2003) (denying dismissal of the plaintiff’s employment discrimination claim because she stated a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress).  See Miniscalco v. Gordon, 916 F. Supp. 478, 481 (E.D. Pa. 1996) (the plaintiffs’ allegations that the defendants’ conduct was extreme and outrageous” were sufficient to state a claim; denying the motion to dismiss).  See also Edwards v. New Opportunities Inc., Civil Action No. 3:05CV1238 (D. Conn. Mar. 26, 2007) (finding that the plaintiff alleged conduct that reasonably could be deemed extreme and outrageous, notwithstanding the general rule that a routine employment action does not constitute extreme and outrageous conduct); Leonard v. BASF Corp., No. 2:06CV00033 (E.D. Mo. Dec. 13, 2006) (finding that the plaintiff alleged a cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress sufficient to survive the motion to dismiss).

In the Virgin Islands, an intentional infliction of emotional distress tort is committed when, “[o]ne who by extreme and outrageous conduct intentionally or recklessly causes severe emotional distress to another.”  See Restatement (Second) of Torts, § 46.*FN1  See also Codrington v. V.I. Port Auth., 911 F. Supp. 907, 915 (D.V.I. 1996) (citing Cox v. Keystone Carbon […]

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