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Legal Memorandum: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Issue: Under the laws of the Virgin Islands, when pleading a claim for the intentional infliction of emotional distress, what allegations of physical injury are required?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Intentional infliction of emotional distress; Physical injury; Pleading a claim
Jurisdiction: Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: Restatement (Second) of Torts § 46; Rule 9 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
Date: 11/01/2008

First, a claim for the intentional infliction of emotional distress does not require an allegation or evidence of specific physical injury.  See e.g. Eddy v. HOVENSA 955 F. Supp 468 (D.V.I. 1997) (stating claim without regard to bodily injury).  Restatement (Second) of Torts § 46 provides that, “One who by extreme and outrageous conduct intentionally or recklessly causes severe emotional distress to another is subject to liability for such emotional distress, and if bodily harm to the other results from it, for such bodily harm.”  Note that under this Restatement provision “bodily harm” is not required to establish liability, only that if it results, the defendant’s liability extends to that harm also.  This conclusion is made explicit in comment k to §46, entitled “bodily harm.”  This comment provides that “[t]he rule stated is not, however, limited to cases where there has been bodily harm.”

Anderson v Government of Virgin Islands 180 F.R.D. 284, 286 (D.V.I. 1998) (“Since Rule 9 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure does not require that the tort of negligent infliction of emotional distress be plead with particularity, Anderson’s bare assertion of “physical injuries” is enough to plead this element of the tort adequately.”)

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