Emotional Distress

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

In North Carolina, a person is liable for the intentional infliction of emotional distress when that person (1) engages in extreme and outrageous conduct; (2) the conduct was intended to cause severe emotional distress to another person; and (3) the conduct does in fact cause severe emotional distress to another person.

The judge decides whether the person’s conduct rises to the level of “extreme and outrageous.”   Typically, the conduct must be much more than simply insulting, bothersome or offensive. In addition to demonstrating that the conduct was “extreme and outrageous,” you must also show that you suffered “severe emotional distress” as a result. “Severe emotional distress” means any type of severe and disabling emotional or mental condition, such as neurosis, psychosis, chronic depression or phobia, which may be generally recognized and diagnosed by trained professionals. However, mere temporary fright or anxiety, disappointment or regret is not severe emotional distress.

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