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Grotts v. Zahner Case Brief

Summary of Grotts v. Zahner (1999) Pg. 538, 989 P.2d 415 (Nev. 1999)

Parties:                         Appellant – Plaintiff – Grotts

Appellee – Defendant – Zahner

Court:                           Court of Appeals – Nevada, 1999

Facts:                           Grotts and her fiancé were involved in a car accident with Zahner. Grotts’ fiancé received fatal injuries as a result of the accident. Grotts filed suit against Zahner on the grounds of bystander NIED.

Procedural Posture:                        TC – dismissed Grotts claim of bystander emotional distress on the ground that she was not by law “closely related” to her fiancé.

Issue:                            Are fiancés considered a close enough relationship to constitute a charge of bystander NIED against a defendant’s negligence?

Judgment:                     Affirmed TC’s decision on the same grounds

Holding:                        The court ruled that as a matter of law that a fiancé is not considered a close enough relationship to recover for bystander NIED damages. It is only reserved for family relationships by blood or marriage.

Dissent

Holding:                        It should be left up to a jury to decide the closeness of the relationship and not based upon the judge’s interpretation of the law.

Relevant Rule:                             A fiancé is not considered a close enough relationship to recover for bystander NIED damages. It is only reserved for family relationships by blood or marriage.



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