Intentional or Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress Claims in SLAPPs
A cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress consists of: (1) outrageous conduct by the defendant with the intention to cause or reckless disregard of the probability of causing emotional distress, (2) severe emotional suffering and (3) actual and proximate causation of the emotional distress.
A cause of action for negligent infliction of emotional distress consists of: (1) a duty of care owed by the defendant to the plaintiff, (2) breach of that duty by the defendant resulting in severe emotional suffering and (3) actual and proximate causation of severe emotional distress.
Intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress is a common cause of action (claim) in SLAPPs. Although not all such claims are subject to the anti-SLAPP law, if you’ve been sued for intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress, you may well have been SLAPPed.
The two cases below are examples of SLAPPs where CASP successfully defended clients who were sued for infliction of emotional distress.
Wong v. Jing
(2010, 6th District – 189 Cal. App. 4th 1354; 117 Cal. Rptr. 3d 747)
The trial court denied an anti-SLAPP motion to strike a dentist’s claims of libel per se and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, filed against two parents and Yelp!, arising from a negative review on Yelp! regarding the dentist’s treatment of the parents’ child. The Court of Appeal held that all of the claims were subject to the anti-SLAPP law and that six of the seven claims were without merit.
Coltrain v. Shewalter
(2003, 4th District – 66 Cal.App.4th 94, 77 Cal.Rptr.2d 600)
Our clients, the neighbors of an apartment complex, filed nuisance actions in small claims court against the owners of the complex, after unsuccessful attempts to abate alleged criminal activity and harassment by residents of the complex. In retaliation, the owners of the complex sued our clients for trade libel, defamation, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. After our clients filed an anti-SLAPP motion, the plaintiffs dismissed their complaint. The Court of Appeal found that our clients were targets of a SLAPP and were entitled to recover our attorneys fees, even though the plaintiffs dismissed the complaint.
The information on this website is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. The information here is meant to provide general information to the public.