Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

A claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress requires showing that a person subjected another person to extreme and outrageous conduct and that such conduct intentionally or recklessly caused the other person to suffer severe emotional distress. Conduct is generally considered extreme and outrageous if it goes beyond all possible bounds of decency, and distress is generally considered severe if it is so significant that harmful physical consequences might be expected.

A victim of intentional infliction of emotional distress may recover compensatory damages for emotional distress and for pecuniary losses such as medical expenses and lost wages. Punitive damages may also be available in particularly egregious cases.

A claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress generally must be brought within three years of the date on which the claim accrues.

For information about other civil claims recognized in the District of Columbia, click here. For information about how to use this guide, click here.

[Sources: Douglas C. Melcher, Tort Claims and Defenses in the District of Columbia § 4 (2014), and legal authorities cited therein.]