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When the actor's conduct is extraordinarily vindictive, it may be regarded as so extreme and so outrageous as to give rise to a cause of action for emotional distress.
George Flamm alleged that Emanuel Van Nierop had dashed at Flamm in a threatening manner in various public places, with threatening gestures, grimaces, leers, distorted faces and malign looks, accompanied by ridiculous utterances and laughs; driven his automobile behind that of Flamm at a dangerously close distance; walked closely behind, beside, or in front of Flamm on the public streets; and constantly telephoned Flamm at his home and place of business and either hung up or remained on the line in silence. Nierop moved to dismiss.
Should the motions to dismiss plaintiff's action for emotional distress and injunctive relief be granted?
The court denied Nierop’s motions to dismiss. The court held that if Nierop’s conduct was extraordinarily vindictive, it might be regarded as so extreme and so outrageous as to give rise to a cause of action for emotional distress. The court held that if Flamm found himself perpetually haunted by Nierop as alleged in the complaint, then he was being subjected to the extreme and outrageous conduct that gives rise to a cause of action in tort. The court held that whether Flamm could prove the allegations to a sufficient degree to establish the cause of action was a question to be determined by the trier of the fact.