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3.12-2  Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress

Revised to January 1, 2008

There are three elements that the plaintiff must prove for a finding of negligent infliction of emotional distress:  1) the defendant engaged in conduct that the defendant should have realized involved an unreasonable risk of causing emotional distress and that that distress, if it were caused, might result in illness or bodily injury; 2) that the conduct caused emotional distress to the plaintiff; and 3) the distress was of such a nature as might result in illness or bodily harm.

As to the first element, that is, that the defendant engaged in conduct that the defendant should have realized involved an unreasonable risk of causing emotional distress and that that distress, if it were caused, might result in illness or bodily injury, the plaintiff need not prove that the defendant intended to cause any harm or distress to the plaintiff but only that the defendant should have known that it was likely that a reasonable person under the circumstances would be distressed by the conduct and that that distress might result in illness or bodily injury.  As to the second and third elements, you must determine whether the plaintiff actually experienced fear or distress, and if so, whether the fear or distress experienced by the plaintiff was reasonable in light of the conduct of the defendant.  If you find that it was reasonable for the plaintiff to experience distress in light of the conduct of the defendant, then the plaintiff is entitled to prevail and you can go on to consider damages.  Conversely, if any distress experienced by the plaintiff was unreasonable in light of the defendant's conduct, then you cannot find in favor of the plaintiff on this count and you must return a verdict for the defendant.

If you find that the plaintiff has proved all of the elements of negligent infliction of emotional distress, you will find for the plaintiff and award damages on this count as I will describe in the "damages" section of these instructions.  If you find that the plaintiff has not proved the elements of negligent infliction of emotional distress then you will return a defendant's verdict on this count.

Authority

Larobina v. McDonald, 274 Conn. 394, 410 (2005); Carrol v. Allstate Ins. Co., 262 Conn. 433, 446-47 (2003); Restatement (Second) of Torts, § 313 (2007).
 


 

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