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When pleading a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress, first, the conduct involved must be truly extreme and outrageous. Second, the actor must either intend that his or her conduct inflict severe emotional distress or know that there is at least a high probability that his or her conduct will cause severe emotional distress. Third, the conduct must in fact cause severe emotional distress.
Plaintiff executed a note secured by a mortgage for a home. Defendant owned the mortgage. The mortgage contained a provision granting the defendant the right, in the event of a default by plaintiff, to enter onto the property to make repairs. When plaintiff defaulted, defendant foreclosured the property and contracted with co-defendant Safeguard to provide property inspections and preservation services. The latter’s agents entered the plaintiff’s home for inspection. Plaintiff sued defendants for trespass and numerous torts, including intentional infliction of emotional distress. Her emotional distress claims were dismissed by the circuit court, and the appellate court affirmed.
Was the plaintiff’s intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) claim properly dismissed?
It was no error to dismiss plaintiff mortgagor's IIED claim against defendants for entering her home in foreclosure because the agents' conduct was not extreme and outrageous, as they investigated whether the house was occupied before entering, they only secured the property for entrance for repairs, and did not take possession of it. 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.