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Where a jury returns a verdict, the same must be affirmed on appeal if there is any evidence to support it. Moreover, the evidence is to be construed in a light most favorable to the prevailing party and every presumption and inference is in favor of sustaining the verdict.
The child was enrolled in a daycare center operated by Natalie Sabat out of her home. The parties were neighbors. The mother, Paige Edwards, was a police officer. The mother left the child at the daycare during the afternoon. Later in the day the child was transported to the emergency room and was diagnosed with shaken baby syndrome. The mother sued Sabat for the injuries allegedly suffered by her child. Sabat counterclaimed for, among other claims, intentional infliction of emotional distress and assault. According to Sabat, about three weeks after the incident the mother started making obscene gestures at the daycare provider and mouthing "two particular words" every time she drove by her house. The mother would also make such gestures to the daycare provider in front of the provider's three-year-old daughter. The provider testified that on one occasion the mother, with blue lights flashing, drove her police car slowly past the provider's house. She further testified that the mother tailgated her, then drove by and made an obscene gesture. On another occasion, the mother tailgated her, cut her off, and ran her into a ditch. A jury found for Sabat as to the mother’s' claims and awarded Sabat $ 65,000 on her counterclaims of intentional infliction of emotional distress and assault. The mother appealed, asserting that the trial court erred with respect to several evidentiary issues and in failing to grant a directed verdict as to Sabat's claims.
Under the circumstances, was Sabat entitled to an award of damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress and assault?
The court noted that where a jury returned a verdict, the same must be affirmed on appeal if there was any evidence to support it. Moreover, the evidence was to be construed in a light most favorable to the prevailing party and every presumption and inference is in favor of sustaining the verdict. Viewed in this manner, the court held that the evidence was sufficient for the jury to conclude that Sabat was entitled to an award of damages for assault. According to the court, an actual touching was not a necessary element of the tort of assault, it was only necessary to show an intention to commit an injury, coupled with an apparent ability to do so. The testimony also supported an award of damages for intentional inflection of emotional distress, as there was proof of intentional or reckless conduct, which was extreme and outrageous, and which caused severe emotional distress.