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Commentary [On Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress]
Faculty Scholarship
  • Oscar S. Gray, University of Maryland School of Law
Document Type
Publication Date
  • Restatement Torts,
  • injury
These comments question the terminology used in the Third Restatement of Torts for psychological effects, partially on the ground of obsolescence in light of developments in the neurosciences. Instead of the distinction emphasized in the Third Restatement between “physical harm” and “emotional disturbance” (or “distress”), they suggest a distinction between “harm” that constitutes an impairment of functionality, which would be treated as a free-standing basis for liability, like conventional diseases or injuries, and “mere feelings”, which would continue to be compensable in negligence only parasitically. Similarly, the interest protected should be regarded not as an interest in freedom from “disturbance” of “emotional tranquility”, but as one in health. These suggestions, while not familiar in American legal literature, appear to be compatible with contemporary English usage.
Citation Information
44 Wake Forest Law Review 1193 (2009).