Baker v. LSU Health Scis. Ctr., Inst. Of Prof’l Educ

889 So.2d 1178

 

RULE:

To state a cause of action of intentional infliction of emotional distress, a plaintiff's petition has to allege facts to establish: (1) that the conduct of the defendant is extreme and outrageous; (2) that the emotional distress the plaintiff suffers is severe; and (3) that the defendant desires to inflict severe emotional distress or knows that severe emotional distress will be certain or substantially certain to result from his conduct.

A claim of detrimental reliance must meet three requirements: (1) a representation by conduct or work; (2) justifiable reliance thereon; and (3) a change in position to one's detriment because of the reliance. The concept, however, is not favored in Louisiana law and should be applied cautiously, as it bars the normal assertion of rights otherwise present.

FACTS:

Plaintiff, a student, sued defendants, a faculty member and a university, for deprivation of due process, detrimental reliance, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The student alleged he was denied due process because the faculty member was prejudiced in recommending he not be admitted to the medical school. He also alleged he detrimentally relied on the faculty member’s recommendation that he obtain a masters degree, because, after obtaining one, he was still denied admission. The student also alleged that the faculty member intentionally inflicted emotional distress by interrogating and ridiculing him. The district court granted the university’s exception of no right of action, and the faculty member’s exception of no cause of action. The student appealed only as to the decision favoring the faculty member.

ISSUE:

(1) Whether a student was deprived of due process when he had no property or liberty interest adversely affected by state action in his claim that a faculty member at his school was prejudiced in recommending he not be admitted to their medical school? (2) Whether a student reasonably relied on a faculty member’s advice that having a master’s degree would make it easier to gain admission to medical school?

ANSWER:

(1) No (2) No

CONCLUSION:

The appellate court found no evidence that the student had a property or liberty interest in admission to the medical school and that the faculty member’s statement that a masters degree would have “facilitated” the student’s chances for admission did not create a justifiable action for detrimental reliance. Additionally, the student’s petition did not set forth facts showing the faculty member’s conduct was “extreme and outrageous.” However, the trial court erred in not allowing the student to amend his petition.

 

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