Lawyers Intentionally Inflicting Emotional Distress

69 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2012 Last revised: 8 Mar 2012

Alex B. Long

University of Tennessee College of Law

Date Written: January 18, 2012

Abstract

This article examines the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) as applied to lawyers engaged in the practice of law. IIED claims against lawyers have arisen in a variety of contexts, ranging from a lawyer’s act of disclosing client confidences to a prosecutor to demanding sex from a client in exchange for legal services. Courts have always had difficulty defining the concept of “extreme and outrageous conduct” for purposes of an IIED claim, but IIED claims against lawyers pose even greater definitional problems for courts. In an effort to provide greater clarity, the article advocates that courts should adopt the following standard: conduct that would warrant disbarment for a lawyer is presumptively extreme and outrageous conduct for purposes of an IIED claim.

Suggested Citation

Long, Alex B., Lawyers Intentionally Inflicting Emotional Distress (January 18, 2012). Seton Hall Law Review, Forthcoming; University of Tennessee Legal Studies Research Paper No. 177. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2001993 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2001993

Alex B. Long (Contact Author)

University of Tennessee College of Law ( email )

1505 West Cumberland Ave.
Knoxville, TN 37996
United States

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