The Law School Authority

Alcorn v. Anbro Engineering, Inc. Case Brief

Summary of Alcorn v. Anbro Engineering, Inc., 2 Cal. 3d 493, 468 P.2d 216, 86 Cal. Rptr. 88 (1970)

Facts: P was a black truck driver for D.  On one occasion, P informed his supervisor that he had informed another employee not to drive a certain truck to work because that employee was not a member of Teamster.  P was neither rude, insubordinate or otherwise violative of his duties as an employee. The supervisor, for no apparent reason, started yelling at P derogatory remarks about blacks and then told P to pick up his last paycheck because he was fired.  D ratified P’s firing.  P claims that the supervisor’s conduct was intentional and malicious.

As a result of this incident, P got physically ill and he was unable to work for a period of time.

Procedure: The trial court dismissed P’s action.

Issue: Can a reasonable jury consider D’s conduct severe and outrageous, thus making P’s claim valid?

Holding: Yes

Rule: There is a right to recover damages for emotional distress alone, without consequent physical injuries, in cases involving extreme and outrageous intentional invasions of one’s mental and emotional tranquility.

Rationale: Reasonable minds can differ as to whether Ds conduct was extreme and outrageous.  It is up to the fact finder to make the determination whether D is liable for damages caused by emotional distress suffered by P.  Therefore, the trial court erred by dismissing P’s complaint. Reversed.

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