Utah Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
Under Utah law, intentional infliction of emotional distress consists of four elements:
- (i) the [defendant's] conduct [complained of] was outrageous and intolerable in that it offended . . . generally accepted standards of decency and morality;
- (ii) [the defendant] intended to cause, or acted in reckless disregard of the likelihood of causing, emotional distress;
- (iii) [the plaintiff] suffered severe emotional distress; and
- (iv) [the defendant's] conduct proximately caused [the] emotional distress.
Prince v. Bear River Mut. Ins. Co., 56 P.3d 524, 535 (Utah 2002)(internal citations omitted).
To succeed on a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant:
- intentionally engaged in some conduct toward the plaintiff,
- (a) with the purpose of inflicting emotional distress, or,
- (b) where any reasonable person would have known that such would result; and his actions are of such a nature as to be considered outrageous and intolerable in that they offend against the generally accepted standards of decency and morality.
Cabaness v. Thomas, 2010 UT 23, 232 P.3d 486, 499, quoting Bennett v. Jones, Waldo, Holbrook & McDonough, 2003 UT 9, ¶ 58, 70 P.3d 17 (emphasis in original) (quoting Franco v. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2001 UT 25, ¶ 25, 21 P.3d 198).
Further, “ ‘[i]t is for the court to determine, in the first instance, whether the defendant's conduct may reasonably be regarded as so extreme and outrageous as to permit recovery.’ ” Gygi v. Storch, 28 Utah 2d 399, 503 P.2d 449, 450 (1972) (quoting Restatement (Second) of Torts § 46 cmt. h (1965)). However, “[w]here reasonable men may differ, it is for the jury, subject to the control of the court, to determine whether, in the particular case, the conduct has been sufficiently extreme and outrageous to result in liability.” Id.