Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress Under Maryland Tort Law
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress is very difficult to establish under Maryland personal injury law.
In order to prove a prima facie case of IIED in Maryland, the Plaintiff must show:
1. That the conduct was intentional or reckless;
2. The conduct is extreme and outrageous;
3. There is a causal connection between the wrongful conduct and the emotional distress;
4. The emotional distress is severe.
To meet the fourth element, the emotional distress must be “severely disabling,” such that “no reasonable man could be expected to endure it.” Being “upset” and “embarrassed” is not sufficient to show severe emotional distress. Evidence that the Plaintiff could continue with his normal life activities or that he did not seek professional treatment can show that the distress is not “severe.”
In Green v. Shoemaker, the Maryland Court of Appeals determined that a plaintiff cannot recover for emotional distress unless a “physical injury” results from the tort. Later, the court expanded a “physical injury” to include injuries “manifested by an external condition or by symptoms clearly indicative of a resultant pathological, physiological, or mental state.” The physical injury can be proven through evidence of an “external condition or by symptoms of a pathological or physiological state.” Also, it can be proven through evidence that indicates a “mental state.” However, medical testimony is not required in order to show mental distress.
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