Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

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The elements of the Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress cause of action are:

  1. The wrongdoer's conduct was intentional or reckless;
  2. The conduct was outrageous, that is, as to go beyond all bounds of decency, and to be regarded as odious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community;
  3. The conduct caused emotional distress; and
  4. The emotional distress was severe.

Johnson v. State Dept. of Health and Rehab. Svc's, 695 So.2d 927 (Fla. 2d DCA 1997)]], quoting Dominguez v. Equitable Life Assurance Soc'y, 438 So.2d 58, 59 (Fla. 3d DCA 1983).

Only conduct, which is “so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community,” meets the standard necessary to state a claim for IIED. Clemente v. Horne, 707 So.2d 865, 867 (Fla. 3d DCA 1998), citing Restatement (Second) of Torts, § 46 cmt. D (1965). “It is not enough that the intent is tortuous or criminal; it is not enough that the defendant intended to inflict emotional distress; and it is not enough if the conduct was characterized by malice or aggravation.” Id. citing State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Novotny, 657 So.2d 1210, 1213 (Fla. 5th DCA 1995).

Claims based solely on allegations of verbal abuse are also generally legally insufficient. De La Campa v. Grifols America Inc., 819 so.2d 940 (Fla. 3d DCA 2002) citing Ponton v. Scarfone, 468 So.2d 1009 (Fla. 2d DCA 1985) (statements made to induce employee to join sexual liason did not establish IIED).

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