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Gouin v. Gouin - 249 F. Supp. 2d 62 (D. Mass. 2003)

Rule:

The elements of the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress are well settled in Massachusetts. A properly pled claim alleges: (1) that the actor intended to inflict emotional distress or that he knew or should have known that emotional distress was the likely result of his conduct; (2) that the conduct was extreme and outrageous, was beyond all possible bounds of decency, and was utterly intolerable in a civilized community; (3) that the actions of the defendant were the cause of the plaintiff's distress; and (4) that the emotional distress sustained by the plaintiff was severe and of a nature that no reasonable man could be expected to endure it. 

Facts:

On May 24, 2001, plaintiff Francois Gouin, Jr. ("Gouin") commenced the present action with the filing of a 15-count complaint against defendants Dori C. Gouin, Esquire ("Dori"), in her professional and individual capacities, Todd D. Posey ("Posey"), William R. Toner ("Toner"), in his official and individual capacities, Edward McMahon ("McMahon"), in his official and individual capacities, the City of Boston, Paul F. Evans ("Evans"), Police Commissioner of the City of Boston, in his official and individual capacities, John Does and Jane Doe. The plaintiffs claims arise out of events which transpired in the early morning hours of January 5, 2001, when Gouin was arrested after he attempted to gain entrance to a certain condominium in Boston that he owned with Dori as tenants by the entirety.

Issue:

Can an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim prosper given the number of incidents that allegedly caused severe emotional distress?

Answer:

Yes

Conclusion:

The mother's assault counterclaim survived as a verbal threat, combined with the father's conduct during an altercation regarding a dispute over their son, was sufficient to state claim. The abuse of process claim survived as the father had filed several criminal applications and civil actions against the mother. The malicious prosecution claim also survived given the allegations of malice. The intentional infliction of emotional distress claim survived given the number of incidents that allegedly caused severe emotional distress. The threshold pleading requirements were met for the negligent infliction of emotional distress claim. The intentional interference with contractual relations claim was dismissed as the mother failed to allege that the father knew of her alleged contract with the roommate. However, the interference with advantageous business relations claim survived given the allegations regarding the mother's employment relationship. The roommate's intentional infliction of emotional distress claim was dismissed as he failed to allege sufficiently outrageous conduct. The officers' Mass Gen. Laws ch. 271, § 99Q, claim survived as they had alleged the necessary elements.

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