Washington Law Review


Gust S. Doces


Until recently, a plaintiff who had suffered emotional injury normally had to show an accompanying physical harm in order to maintain a successful action for damages. His ability to recover for severe emotional distress unaccompanied by physical injury is being recognized by an increasing number of jurisdictions. The current situation is marked by the unsettled nature of the law. Reluctance to grant relief for such an injury has been based upon a desire to avoid not only fictitious claims, but also the litigation of trivialities and bad manners. However, even before this change in attitude by the courts, if some independent tort, such as assault, battery, or false imprisonment could be made out, that cause of action served as a peg upon which to hang the recovery for emotional injury, and recovery was freely permitted. In recent years the courts have tended to recognize the intentional infliction of mental or emotional disturbance as a separate tort. In keeping with this trend, the Restatement of Torts has given recognition to liability for such an injury by revising the position stated in the original section 46.2.

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