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Legal Memorandum: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress Claim

Issue: Is summary judgment appropriate on a claim of negligent or intentional infliction of emotional distress under the laws of the Virgin Islands?

Area of Law: Employee Law, Litigation & Procedure, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Summary judgment; Intentional infliction of emotional distress claim
Jurisdiction: Federal, Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: Restatement (Second) of Torts § 46; Restatement (Second) of Torts § 313
Date: 10/01/2004

Summary judgment is not warranted on a plaintiff’s intentional infliction of emotional distress claim when the plaintiff has shown that the defendant intentionally or recklessly caused severe emotional distress to the plaintiff by extreme and outrageous conduct.  Purjet v. Hess Oil V.I. Corp., 22 V.I. 147, 150-51 (D.V.I. 1986) (quoting Restatement (Second) of Torts § 46).  See also Alvarez v. Pueblo Int’l, Inc., 24 V.I. 141, 147 (Terr. Ct. 1989) (stating elements of intentional infliction of emotional distress claim); Codrington v. The V.I. Port Auth., 33 V.I. 245, 257 (D.V.I. 1996) (same).  The issue whether the defendant intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon the plaintiff is generally a question for the jury that would preclude summary judgment.  Alvarez, 24 V.I. at 147.

Similarly, the plaintiff who shows that the defendant negligently inflicted emotional distress upon him or her, causing illness or bodily harm, should avoid dismissal.  Purjet, 22 V.I. at 152 (quoting Restatement (Second) of Torts § 313).

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