Johnson v. Jam

62 N.Y.2d 523, 478 N.Y.S.2d 838, 467 N.E.2d 502 (1984)

 

RULE:

A claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress only exists when a plaintiff is 1) within the zone of danger when the injury occurred and 2) injuries are a result of seeing the serious physical injury or death caused by the negligence.

FACTS:

Plaintiffs filed an action for damages due to emotional distress they suffered when their infant child was abducted in Jamaica Hospital, on a day where the hospital had received two bomb threats. The hospital field a Motion to Dismiss, which was denied by both the Supreme Court of Special Term and its appellate division.

ISSUE:

Do plaintiff’s have a cause of action against the hospital?

ANSWER:

No.

CONCLUSION:

Jamaica Hospital, even if negligent in caring for Kawana and directly liable to her, is not liable for emotional distress suffered by plaintiffs as a consequence of the abduction. Plaintiff was not in the zone of danger at the time the abduction happened. There is no duty owing from defendant to plaintiffs to refrain from negligently causing such injury.

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