What is Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress?

Intentional infliction of emotional distress — or IIED – – is a type of intentional tort.  In some jurisdiction IIED is called “outrage”.  To prove that defendant is liable, plaintiff must establish that defendant:

  • engaged in an intentional or reckless act;
  • defendant’s act was outrageous or extreme; and
  • the act caused severe emotional pain.

Plaintiffs usually have difficulty prevailing on IIED claims.

Defendant’s act must be so outrageous that no reasonable person could bear such an action or it must be beyond what people tolerate in a civilized society.  Courts generally view everyday insults and emotional stressors as insufficiently extreme or outrageous.

In addition, to prove severe emotional pain is also challenging – – plaintiff will need evidence of how badly the emotional pain manifested itself.


United States Law: An Introduction for International Students

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