Wrongful Death Suit Filed In Sacramento-Area Radio Contest, Part 5 of 6

(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this wrongful death/personal injury case and its proceedings.)

Thus, it is not unusual or atypical that the extent and nature of these emotional conditions was not discerned as part of Defendants’ somewhat cursory depositions of the Plaintiffs. For the same reason we cannot rule out emotional harm merely because the victims are not particularly adept at expressing their symptoms, especially in a crowded room filled with lawyers, a court reporter and a video camera (each Plaintiff was video-taped at deposition). What is critical is that, “all [three plaintiffs] have described incidents of recurring nightmares; fear; heightened anxiety; and deep feelings of guilt that arose in close proximity to the incident,” and have expressed markers consistent with a PTSD diagnosis, e.g., changes in personality; feelings of permanent damage; shame over surviving (i.e., survivor guilt); and persistent feelings that they and their families are still at risk of injury.

Clearly Paul Smith, Steven Davis, and Mike Jones have provided ample evidence not only of severe emotional distress, but of substantial quantity and endearing quality to satisfy Fletcher, Christensen and every other authority cited by Defendants, with perhaps one exception. Defendants rely on Angie M. v. Superior Court (1995) 37 Cal.App.4th 1217, 1227 for the proposition that a minor plaintiff who alleged that her 48-year old doctor, who drugged, raped, intoxicated and abused her for eight months did not allege sufficient facts to demonstrate severe emotional distress. On an even cursory examination it is clear that Angie M. does not support Radio’s position.

In Angie M., a minor sought damages for unlawful seduction, childhood sexual abuse, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress and battery. The Court sustained defendant’s demurrer without leave to amend to the IIED claim among others. On appeal, the Court upheld the demurrer on the IIED claim but granted leave to amend. The issue for the Court was procedural, and not related to the outrageous conduct of the defendant doctor. The Court held that the plaintiff had alleged ample facts to demonstrate the doctor’s conduct was outrageous, but had failed only to allege facts that as a result plaintiff suffered severe emotional distress. See Angie M., supra, 1227. In no way did the Court suggest (as Defendant here implies) that even a child who is drugged, raped and physically abused faces a difficult burden in alleging emotional distress severe enough to sustain a claim for IIED. Rather, the Court recognized that plaintiff pled sufficient facts to put defendant on notice that, his conduct could cause emotional distress and that his conduct caused such distress. Ibid. (See Part 6 of 6.)

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