Civil Actions for Emotional Distress and R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul

19 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2010

Date Written: 1992


The law of emotional distress is characterized by judicial reluctance to create and expand remedies for emotional injuries. The issue here is whether the Court's decision in R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul will impose further limitations on the right to recover civil damages for the intentional infliction of emotional injury, particular emotional injuries resulting from hate speech. This symposium first examines the applicability of the tort to redress claims based on abusive epithets based on the victim's race, gender, or sexual orientation. The symposium then argues that using this tort in cases involving hate speech should not create constitutional problems, absent a collision with First Amendment interests established by the Supreme Court in the defamation cases; and that R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul should have no impact on emotional distress claims based on hate speech.

Keywords: Emotional distress, IIED, hate speech, racial slurs, First Amendment, R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul, Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, defamation, Minnesota torts, tort law, emotional harm, Hustler Magazine v. Falwell

Suggested Citation

Steenson, Michael K., Civil Actions for Emotional Distress and R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul (1992). William Mitchell Law Review, Vol. 18, p. 983, 1992, Available at SSRN:

Michael K. Steenson (Contact Author)

Mitchell Hamline School of Law ( email )

875 Summit Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105-3076
United States
651-290-6366 (Phone)
651-290-6406 (Fax)

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