Law School Case Brief
Feltmeier v. Feltmeier - 207 Ill. 2d 263, 278 Ill. Dec. 228, 798 N.E.2d 75 (2003)
There are three elements necessary to state a cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress: First, the conduct involved must be truly extreme and outrageous. Second, the actor must either intend that his conduct inflict severe emotional distress, or know that there is at least a high probability that his conduct will cause severe emotional distress. Third, the conduct must in fact cause severe emotional distress.
The wife, Lynn Feltmeier, brought an action against her husband, Robert Feltmeier, for intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) after the parties were granted a divorce. She alleged that the husband had engaged in a pattern of domestic abuse, both physical and mental. The abuse began shortly after the marriage and did not cease even after its dissolution. The husband maintained that the wife failed to allege facts giving rise to an action for IIED. Moreover, even if the conduct alleged was actionable, the claim was not viable because the statute of limitations had run on most the alleged misconduct.
Could the wife maintain an action at law?
The Illinois Supreme Court found that the allegations in the complaint, viewed in their entirety, showed a type of domestic violence that was extreme enough to be actionable. In addition, the court found that the wife sufficiently alleged that as a result of such abuse, she suffered severe emotional distress. As for the statute of limitations, the court found that the continuing tort rule applied. The court found that the applicable two-year statute of limitations therefore began to run in the same month the action was filed, since the husband engaged in tortious behavior as late as that month.
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