In order to sustain a claim for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, the following elements must be established: (1) the conduct must be intentional or reckless, (2) the conduct must be extreme and outrageous, (3) there is a causal connection between the wrongful conduct and emotional distress, and (4) the distress is severe.
Plaintiff and his wife went to the defendant for marriage counseling. During the counseling sessions, defendant started a romantic relationship with the plaintiff's wife - ending the plaintiff's marriage. During the counseling sessions, defendant would advise plaintiff that he should end his marriage with his wife, and make himself more distant from her. Defendant had preexisting knowledge of plaintiff's emotional sensitivity, and the plaintiff filed a complaint against the defendant alleging Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress. Defendant moved to dismiss plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim.
Did plaintiff's claim satisfy the elements for a claim of Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress?
In holding that the plaintiff's claim satisfied the elements for a claim of IIED, the Court reasoned that since the relationship between the parties was that of a psychologist-patient, it had to carefully scrutinize the matter. It also held that a jury could find that the defendant exhibited extreme and outrageous conduct when the defendant was hired to help the plaintiff's marriage, but instead developed a relationship with the plaintiff's wife. Further, since the defendant knew about the plaintiff's pre-existing emotional problems, the claim for IIED could be supported.