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Legal Memorandum: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Issue: What is required to establish a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress in the context of an employment action?

Area of Law: Employee Law
Keywords: Infliction of emotional distress; Employment action
Jurisdiction: Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: 92 F. Supp. 2d 378; 2 F. Supp. 2d 577; 56 F. Supp. 2d 472
Cited Statutes: Restatement (Second) of Torts, § 46
Date: 06/01/2007

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 Rule 12(b)(6) 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) (denying the motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ allegation, “in a conclusory fashion,” that the defendants’ conduct was extreme and outrageous,” because the allegation was sufficient to state a claim).  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).  See also Chongasing v. V.I. Hous. Auth., No. Civ.2003-187 (D.V.I. Aug. 2, 2004) (finding that the plaintiff’s complaint satisfied the minimal pleading requirements of Rule 8).

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 […]

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