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The cases thus far decided have found liability for the intentional infliction of emotional distress only where the defendant's conduct has been extreme and outrageous. It has not been enough that the defendant has acted with an intent which is tortious or even criminal, or that he has intended to inflict emotional distress, or even that his conduct has been characterized by "malice," or by a degree of aggravation which would entitle the plaintiff to punitive damages for another tort. Liability has been found only where the conduct has been 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. Generally, the case is one in which the recitation of the facts to an average member of the community would arouse his resentment against the actor, and lead him to exclaim, "Outrageous!"
The Currys, husband and wife, were next door neighbors to Andrew and Grace, husband and wife, in the Indianapolis subdivision, Edenwilde. Grace was the president of The Edenwilde Homeowners' Association. In 2007, Grace filed a report with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department alleging that Jeffery sent her threatening emails in her capacity as HOA President and that Jeffery told people in the neighborhood that he carried a gun. Grace reported that she felt threatened as a result of Jeffery's actions. In 2008, Grace filed another police report that Jeffery was throwing cigarette butts onto their property. In addition, Andrew and Grace suspected that Jeffery was vandalizing their property. As a result, in the spring of 2008, they installed two surveillance cameras on their home. One of the cameras was aimed at the common yard between the two homes, part of the Currys' front yard, the Currys' driveway, and the corner of the Currys' garage. On March 31, 2008, a surveillance camera captured a person that Andrew thought looked like Jeffery damaging a home security sign that was located on Andrew and Grace's property. That night, Andrew and Grace showed the video of the incident to an IMPD officer, who could not identify the vandal. Andrew and Grace then showed the tape to IMPD Officer Michael Croddy, who lived in Edenwilde and was a HOA board member, and said that they wanted to pursue charges against Jeffery. Probable cause for misdemeanor criminal mischief was found, and Jeffery was arrested and charged with criminal mischief. Following a bench trial, however, Jeffery was acquitted. On April 2, 2008, the Currys filed a complaint against Andrew and Grace. The complaint alleged three counts: (1) invasion of privacy by intrusion; (2) invasion of privacy by false light; and (3) intentional infliction of emotional distress. Andrew and Grace responded with a counterclaim. In March 2009, Andrew and Grace filed a motion for summary judgment on the Currys' complaint. A hearing was held, and in March 2010, the trial court entered summary judgment in favor of Andrew and Grace on the Currys' complaint. The Currys appealed.
Was Andrew and Grace’s conduct in installing surveillance cameras, filing police reports, "waging a campaign in the community against" them, and "collusion" with a police officer "outrageous"?
The court of appeals concluded as a matter of law that Andrew’s and Grace’s actions did not constitute "outrageous" behavior. None of the designated facts suggested that their conduct was so extreme in degree as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency and should have been regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized society. The judgment was affirmed.