Poole v. Copland, Inc., 125 NC App 235 (95-693) 02/04/1997 Link to original WordPerfect file

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Poole v. Copland, Inc.

No. COA95-693

(Filed 4 February 1997)

1.     Intentional Infliction of Mental Distress § 2.1 (NCI4th)-- expert testimony -- causation of emotional distress -- use of could and might

    Testimony by plaintiff's experts that alleged harassment "could" or "might" have triggered plaintiff's severe emotional distress was sufficient to show that the harassment caused the emotional distress where additional evidence presented by plaintiff supported the experts' testimony.

     Am Jur 2d, Expert and Opinion Evidence § 129.

2.    Intentional Infliction of Mental Distress § 3.2 (NCI4th)-- thin skull rule -- application to mental injury case -- exacerbation of preexisting mental condition

    The "thin skull" rule can be applied to mental as well as physical injury cases; therefore, a defendant may be liable in an action for the intentional infliction of emotional distress for aggravation or exacerbation of a preexisting mental condition, and the trial court did not err by giving an instruction defining severe emotional distress as including exacerbation of a preexisting dissociative disorder.

     Am Jur 2d, Fright, Shock, and Mental Disturbance §§ 25,27; Negligence § 500.

3.    Intentional Infliction of Mental Distress § 3.2 (NCI4th) -- exacerbation of dissociative disorder -- peculiar susceptibility

    Where the trial court instructed the jury in an action for the intentional infliction of emotional distress by sexual harassment that severe emotional distress includes exacerbation of a preexisting dissociative disorder, the court should also have given a peculiar susceptibility proximate cause instruction on the issue of liability requiring the jury to find that the alleged sexual harassment could reasonably be expected to injure a person of ordinary mental condition.

     Am Jur 2d, Damages § 281; Fright Shock, and Mental Disturbance § 27.

     On-the-job sexual harrassment as violation of state civil rights law. 18 ALR4th 328.