George, an employee of the Charlotte Bobcats basketball team, has a contract with his employer guaranteeing his job for 5 more years; however, Jerry, his employer, wants George to leave now. Jerry is making conditions unbearable for George by causing him daily emotional distress. Jerry has George's air conditioner turned off in the middle of July, he convinces other team members in the office to not speak with George and he also has George's phone line tapped so everyone can listen to his personal conversations. George is now seeking a lawsuit against Jerry for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress. Jerry moves to dismiss this complaint on the grounds that George has failed to prove his allegations of Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.
The issue is whether, under N.C. Law, George has an adequate basis for liability against Jerry under the tort of Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.
In Waddle vs. Sparks, 331 N.C. 73, 82 (N.C. 1992), the state supreme court restated the common law elements of Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress. The elements of this tort were put forth as follow: "1) extreme and outrageous conduct by the defendant; 2) which is intended to and does in fact cause; 3) severe emotional distress."
In Haynes v. Sentry Corp., 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7188 (E.D.N.C. 2000), the court stated that "Conduct is considered extreme and outrageous when it rises to a level that is "utterly intolerable in a civilized community.” Per the court, to recover for intentional infliction of emotional distress, a plaintiff must sufficiently allege that defendants' conduct “caused her to suffer a severe and disabling emotional or mental condition which may be generally recognized and diagnosed by professionals trained to do so.” The court also remarked that "Words alone, without more, are not sufficient to establish a claim for assault."
As in Waddle, George will have...