January 2019 Archives

What Is Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

In order to sustain a claim alleging outrage, or the intentional infliction of emotional distress, a plaintiff must first prove that the defendant acted intentionally or recklessly. Buckley v. Trenton Saving Fund Soc'y, 111 N.J. 355, 366, 544 A.2d 857 (1988). A defendant acts recklessly when he or she acts in deliberate disregard of a high degree of probability that emotional distress will follow. Ibid. Second, the defendant's conduct must be extreme or outrageous, meaning it must "go beyond all possible bounds of decency[.]" Ibid. Third, the defendant's actions must have been the proximate cause of the plaintiff's emotional distress. Ibid. Fourth, the emotional distress suffered must be "so severe that no reasonable man could be expected to endure it." Ibid. Physical injury need not be proven; it is sufficient if the plaintiff suffers severe emotional distress. Id. at 367, 544 A.2d 857.

Can a passenger be at fault

In considering the usual rules of negligence of a passenger we need only address those that relate to Lombardo since as to Green there was no objection to the charge, her actions are not challenged in this appeal, and she was not a person asserting a claim, at least in this appeal. A passenger has a duty not to interfere with the operations of the driver. See 61 C.J.S. Motor Vehicle § 486(5) (1970) (A passenger will be held contributorily negligent for interfering with a driver's operation and control of the motor vehicle.); Lind v. Slowinski, supra (450 N.W.2d at 357) (A passenger who interferes with a driver's operation of the motor vehicle may be liable to others.). A passenger also has a duty to protect himself or herself. See Ambrose v. Cyphers, 29 N.J. 138, 150, 148 A.2d 465 (1959) (Weintraub, C.J.) ("[A] passenger is bound to exercise for his own safety the care of a reasonably prudent person under the circumstances."); Melone v. Jersey Central Power & Light Co., 18 N.J. 163, 176, 113 A.2d 13 (1955) (General rule is that passenger is "bound to exercise such care for his own safety as the exigencies of the situation require."); Tabor v. O'Grady, 59 N.J.Super. 330, 337, 157 A.2d 701 (App.Div.1960), modified in part on reh'g, 61 N.J.Super. 446, 161 A.2d 267 (App.Div.1960) ("A passenger in an automobile must exercise such reasonable [**560] care and caution as an ordinarily prudent person would exercise under like circumstances.").

Guide to Testifying in Court

So you're going to court . . . Some in cashmere and some in chains, millions of Americans testify (give a sworn statement) in court every year. Some of those millions will be parties to civil cases ("lawsuits"); others will be defendants in criminal cases ("prosecutions"); still others will be "fact" or "expert" witnesses with knowledge or information about a case. You may be in court to explain a creative left turn, to describe what you saw while looking out a window, or to clarify for a jury some matter requiring your particular expertise. You may be in court to ask for a divorce or a name change or a restraining order, or to fight for your liberty when accused of a crime. You may spend less than two minutes standing behind a podium, or two weeks seated at counsel table. Whether you come to court as a party or as a "fact witness," in a civil case or criminal, with counsel or without, this guide will help you to optimize your effectiveness when you testify. What follows is not legal advice, but some suggestions from a trial lawyer as to how to do your best when testifying in court. They are based on experience, observation and common sense. If you have a lawyer, and her advice differs from that given here, listen to your lawyer. She should know best. Each case is unique; each judge is individual; and legal customs and practices vary widely. In view of this, the advice that follows, while universal, is also general. Be guided accordingly.

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