(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this elder abuse/wrongful death case and its proceedings.)
PLAINTIFFS’ FOURTH CAUSE OF ACTION STATES CLAIMS FOR RECKLESS OR INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS AS TO STEVEN BROWN
The elements of the tort are: (1) extreme and outrageous conduct by the defendant with the intention of causing, or reckless disregard of the probability of causing, emotional distress; (2) the Claimant’s suffering severe or extreme emotional distress; and (3) actual and proximate causation of the emotional distress by the defendant’s outrageous conduct. KOVR-TV, Inc. v. Superior Court (1995) 31 Cal. App.4th 1023, 1028, 37 Cal.Rptr.2d 431.
The tort does not require an allegation of an intention to cause harm. A reckless disregard of the probability of causing harm is adequate. [I]t is not essential to liability that a trier of fact find a malicious or evil purpose. It is enough that defendant “devoted little or no thought” to the probable consequences of his conduct. KOVR-TV, Inc., supra, 31 Cal.App.4th at 1031-1032.
Whether conduct is outrageous is a question of fact for which the law does not provide a bright line rigidly separating that which is actionable from that which is not. Indeed, it generally hazards a case-by-case appraisal of conduct filtered through the prism of the appraiser’s values, sensitivity threshold, and standards of civility. The process evoked by the test appears to be more intuitive than analytical. Yurick v. Superior Court (1989) 209 Cal.App.3d 1116, 1128.
Steven Brown brings this cause of action through his successors in interest. The same facts that support the First Cause of Action for Reckless or Willful Elder Abuse support Mr. Brown’s claim for intentional or reckless infliction of emotional distress. Defendants’ conduct, as alleged, inputting their profit margin ahead of their vulnerable residents, in ignoring his needs, and in attempting to evict Mr. Brown after accepting him to the facility because his daughter had complained about their neglect of him, is clearly outrageous under any definition of that term.
Contrary to defendants’ assertion, the first amended complaint does allege directly and indirectly that Mr. Brown suffered serious emotional distress as a result of defendants’ conduct.
Regarding David Brown’s individual claim, plaintiffs concede that he has not stated a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, and requests leave to amend. (See Part 8 of 11.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.