Taylor v. Vallelunga Case Brief

Summary of Taylor v. Vallelunga, Dst. Ct. of App. CA, 1959

Relevant Facts: PL1 claims Dfs struck and beat him causing bodily injury. PL2 claims intentional infliction of emotional distress resulting from witnessing the assault upon her father. Df motioned for a dismissal on PL2 charges. Ct requested an amendment to the charge by PL2.

Legal Issue(s): Whether Df needs to intend upon causing emotional distress or knowing that severe emotional distress was substantially certain to be produced by their conduct?

Court’s Holding: Yes.

Procedure: Trial ct. dismissed PL2’s action. PL2 appeals. Affirmed.

Law or Rule(s): For 3rd Party, not the object of the conduct, to recover must be present AND Defendant knows that they’re present.

An intention to cause severe emotional distress exists when the act is done for the purpose of causing the distress or with knowledge on the part of the actor that severe emotional distress is substantially certain to be produced.

Court Rationale: There was no evidence that defendants knew PL2 was present or witnessed the assault. There was no evidence that the assault was administered for the purpose of causing PL2 severe emotional distress, or that Df knew that severe emotional distress was substantially certain to be produced. One who, without privilege, intentionally subjects another to the mental suffering incident to serious threats to his physical well-being, whether or not the threats are made under such circumstances as to constitute a technical assault."

Plaintiff’s Argument: Evidence of knowledge is a factual issue reserved for a trier of fact, that judicial position was never attained. Df in committing a battery, commit an assault, commit intentional infliction of severe emotional distress.

Defendant’s Argument: Never knew that the PL2 was present.

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