Oakland County Circuit Court; Docket No. 82-248755 CX
Judge John N. O'Brien
Official Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion
Extra Contractual / Mental Anguish Damages
In this written Opinion, Judge O'Brien denied the defendant insurer's motion for summary judgment arguing that a claims adjuster could not be held liable in tort for intentional infliction of emotional distress regarding the adjuster's handling of a first party claim for no-fault benefits. The Court held that the adjuster could not be liable on a breach of contract as the contract was between the plaintiff and the insurance company. However, assuming proper proof of requisite facts, the adjuster could be personally liable for the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The Court also held that if the plaintiff could prove the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress, the plaintiff could recover mental anguish damages and/or exemplary damages from the insurer and the adjuster. The Court, relying on the Court of Appeals decision in Fry v Ionia Sentinel-Standard, 101 Mich App 725 (1980), defined intentional infliction of emotional distress as "one who by extreme and outrageous conduct intentionally or recklessly causes severe emotional distress to another is subject to liability for such emotional distress and if bodily injury results from it, for such bodily injury."