Under no circumstances do mere insults, indignities, threats, annoyances, petty oppressions, or other trivialities qualify as outrageous conduct supporting an action for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Rather, the nature of the defendant's conduct must be so extreme as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency and to be regarded as intolerable in a civilized community.
Plaintiff wife sued defendant husband 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, which 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 and that, even if the conduct alleged was actionable, the claim was not viable because the statute of limitations had run on most the alleged misconduct. The husband filed a motion to dismiss under 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/2-615, 619 (1998). The motion was denied. The husband then filed an amended motion to dismiss pursuant to§ 2-619, which was also denied. On appeal, the appellate court (Illinois) held the wife could maintain an action at law. On appeal, the judgment of the appellate court was affirmed.
Did the allegations in plaintiff's complaint establish a cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress?
In affirming the appellate court's judgment, the 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 supreme court found that the wife sufficiently alleged that as a result of such abuse, she suffered severe emotional distress.