February 19, 2016

Harris v. Jones - 281 Md. 560, 380 A.2d 611 (1977) - Court of Appeals of Maryland

FACTS: Harris was employed by GM.  He had a speech impediment where he stuttered.  His boss (Jones) made fun of him.  When Harris asked for a transfer it was refused and he was harassed about having talked with the committeeman who is in charge of handling employee grievances.  Harris had been under a physician's care for a nervous condition for 6 years prior to the commencement of Jone's conduct.

HISTORY: Jury awarded Harris $3500 compensatory and $15000 punitive against Jones and GM.  Court of SPecial Appeals reversed.

ISSUE: Were the four conditions to create liability for intentional infliction of emotional distress met?

HOLDING: No

RATIONALE: The fourth element - that the emotional distress must be severe - was not established by legally sufficient evidence justifying submission of the case to the jury.(56)  the plaintiff was required to show a severely disabling emotional response and he didn't do that.

DISPOSITION: Judgment affirmed; costs to be paid by appellant.