Illinois Court of Appeal Reverses Dismissal of Plaintiff’s Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress Claim

Intentional emotional distress is a claim that is meant to compensate the plaintiff for the impact of the mental anguish and suffering that he or she experiences after a personal injury accident. There are specific things that a plaintiff must prove to receive compensation for this claim, and it is important to pay attention to the requirements. Unlike a physical injury such as a broken bone, mental suffering can be hard to diagnose and establish. At Therman Law Offices, our Chicago personal injury attorneys are standing by to assist you with making sure that you receive the outcome that you deserve.

Recently, the Illinois Court of Appeal considered a claim in which the plaintiff appealed the dismissal of his intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. Under Illinois law, to establish that the defendant engaged in the intentional infliction of emotional distress, the plaintiff must show (1) the defendant’s conduct was extreme or outrageous; (2) the defendant intended to cause the severe emotional distress or knew there was a high likelihood that it would result; and (3) the conduct did, in fact, cause the plaintiff to suffer emotional distress.

The plaintiff alleged that he pled his claim sufficiently in the complaint. The plaintiff was a professor who filed a complaint against the university alleging that he suffered the intentional infliction of emotional distress over a seven-year period. The defendant moved to dismiss the complaint, stating that he did not plead enough facts to establish a claim for the intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Plaintiff’s complaint alleged a number of examples of the defendant’s intentional infliction of emotional distress, including giving false information to change his employment contract without notice, harassing the plaintiff, and making false statements for the purpose of launching investigations into his research projects. The trial court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint with prejudice. When a complaint is dismissed with prejudice it means that the plaintiff is not allowed to refile the claim again. In some cases, a court may dismiss a complaint without prejudice so that the plaintiff can fix any deficiencies and refile the complaint.

The plaintiff appealed and the reviewing court overturned the lower court’s decision to dismiss the complaint with prejudice. The appellate court found enough facts in the complaint to suggest that the defendant had engaged in serious misconduct through the abuse of his position as a department chair. The plaintiff also offered evidence that the defendant had spent several years engaging in conduct meant to harass the plaintiff. Overall, the factual allegations in the complaint could lead a trier of fact to conclude that the defendant’s conduct was so outrageous that it rose to the level of intolerability. Because the plaintiff pled enough facts to adequately support a claim for the intentional infliction of emotional distress, the lower court should not have dismissed the claim.

If you believe that you have suffered the intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress, then you should speak to a Chicago personal injury lawyer soon to learn about your rights. Intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress claims can arise in a variety of situations, including personal injury accidents. Call Therman Law Offices today at 773-545-8849 or contact the office online to start taking action.

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