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Litigating Emotional Distress Claims: Liability and Defense Issues for Intentional and Negligent Acts

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will provide in-depth legal analysis and practical guidance to trial lawyers regarding the pursuit and defense of the rapidly expanding tort claims of negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The panel will cover the full array of issues ranging from pleading and discovery to motions and trial and will review successful strategies to use at each stage.


Claims for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress no longer arise solely in the context of the individual to individual acts of outrageous conduct. These claims for injury now are being asserted in workplace matters, medical malpractice claims, 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 actions, and internet cyberbullying litigation, to name but a few newer arenas.

Plaintiffs lawyers must know what to plead to survive a motion to dismiss--a conclusory assertion of the name of the claim will not suffice. Defense counsel, especially in the age of Twombly and Iqbal, must be able to spot and act upon pleading deficiencies in light of the strict requirements of the claim.

Emotional distress claims allow wide-open discovery about the plaintiff. Clients may be surprised to learn just how much they have put at issue publicly as well as how rough cross-examination may be at trial. Plaintiffs counsel must know how to prepare the client; defense counsel must know how to walk the line between appropriate aggression and sympathy-generating meanness.

Listen as this panel of experienced courtroom experts imparts not only a detailed analysis of the legal issues but also provides proven strategies for success.



  1. Context of claim
    1. Workplace
    2. Physical injury
    3. Medical
    4. Internet cyberbullying
    5. Interpersonal relations
    6. Publication: potential for embarrassment
    7. 42 U.S.C. Section 1983
  2. Claim, defenses, motions to dismiss
    1. Extreme and outrageous conduct
    2. Intentional vs. reckless
    3. Causation
    4. Severity
    5. Damages
  3. Discovery
    1. The full breadth of medical records
    2. Opinions/observations from nonexperts
    3. Social media admissions
  4. Summary judgment
  5. Trial issues
    1. Jury selection
    2. Witness preparation
    3. Cross-examination
    4. Role of experts
  6. Taxation of damages and settlements


The panel will review these and other essential matters:

  • The expanding contexts in which emotional distress claims appear
  • Legal nuances of claims and defenses
  • Practical aspects of pleading, motions, discovery, and trial


Bassett, Edward
Edward C. Bassett, Jr.

Mirick O'Connell DeMallie & Lougee

Mr. Bassett is Chair of the firm's Personal Injury Litigation Group. He has practiced in the area of civil...  |  Read More

Johnson-Hurtado, Belinda
Belinda R. Johnson-Hurtado

Clendening Johnson & Bohrer

Ms. Johnson-Hurtado practices in civil litigation and concentrates on complex commercial litigation, insurance law, and...  |  Read More

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