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Intentional Infliction of Mental Distress

This lesson explores an intentional tort that is one of the most recent torts to emerge, one of the most commonly pleaded today, and one that is still evolving. The tort is most commonly called intentional infliction of mental distress; sometimes courts call it intentional infliction of emotional distress, or simply outrage.

The lesson requires no advance preparation; it is designed so that it provides both a solid understanding of the tort and then difficult and challenging questions to students who have already studied the tort at length.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  1. Discuss the elements of the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress, including outrageous conduct with intent to cause severe distress.
  2. Review the requirement that plaintiff must suffer extreme mental distress.
  3. Analyze the difference between outrageous conduct and ill-conceived practical jokes.
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