Ford v. Revlon, Inc. Case Brief

Summary of Ford v. Revlon, Inc., 153 Ariz. 38, 734 P.2d 580 (1987)

Facts: Plaintiff was an employee of Defendant. P’s manager invited her out to dinner to discuss business, and at dinner manager asked P to spend the night with him. P rejected the offer and the manager stated that she will regret it. The manager started giving P an extremely difficult time. He physically touched P in a sexual manner and made many derogatory comments. P reported this to the supervisors on not one but many occasions. But no action was taken. P even tried to commit suicide. Then finally after a year and few months since the sexual harassment had started, the manager was terminated.

Procedure: P sued both the manager and D for assault and battery, and for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The jury found the manager liable of assault and battery but not liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The jury found D liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Only D appealed. The court of appeals reversed jury’s verdict ruling that if the manager (agent) was not found liable for IIED, then D (principal) cannot be held liable for IIED.

Issue: Was D liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress?

Holding: Yes

Rationale: First off, the ct. disagreed with court of appeals ruling that principal cannot be held the master is independent of the negligence of the servant, the result may be different." So D in this case could be held liable fliable for IIED when agent is not held liable. According to the court, “When the negligence of or IIED because the supervisors knew of the sexual harassment of the manager. Now to determine if D in fact is liable, three prong test should be conducted:

1. The conduct of the defendant must be extreme and outrageous

2.the defendant must either intend to cause emotional distress or recklessly disregard the near certainty that such distress will result from his conduct

3. Severe emotional distress must indeed occur as a result of defendant’s conduct.

D’s conduct can be considered extreme and outrageous. P made many complaints with her supervisors and they failed to take any proper actions. Furthermore, even though D didn’t personally intend to cause emotional distress, but they acted recklessly. They knew of the manager’s conduct and they recklessly failed to take action. Third, it is obvious that emotional distress did occur. More that enough evidence is presented to support this contention. D’s argument that this case should be decided under Worker’s Compensation Law is also not convincing. P’s injury in the current case was not unexpected and was essentially nonphysical in nature. Therefore, this case falls under tort law and not Worker’s Compensation Law. Reversed.

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