Question

Irma White, a churchgoing woman in her late forties, was employed at a Monsanto refinery. While working in the canning department, she and three other employees were told to transfer a corrosive and hazardous chemical from a larger container into smaller containers. After they asked for rubber gloves and goggles, a supervisor sent for the equipment. In the meantime, White began cleaning up the work area and one of the other employees went to another area to do some work. The other two employees sat around waiting for the safety equipment, contrary to a work rule requiring employees to busy themselves in such situations.
After learning that the group was idle, Gary McDermott, the canning department foreman, went to the work station. Once there, he launched into a profane one-minute tirade directed at White and the other two workers present, calling them "motherf-s," accusing them of sitting on their "f-g asses," and threatening to "show them to the gate." At this, White became upset and began to experience pain in her chest, pounding in her head, and difficulty in breathing. Her family physician met her at the hospital, where he admitted her, fearing that she was having a heart attack. She was later diagnosed as having had an acute anxiety reaction.
White later sued Monsanto for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Was her distress sufficiently severe for liability? Was McDermott's behavior sufficiently outrageous for liability?



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  • CreatedJuly 16, 2014
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