Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress: Extreme & Outrageous Conduct

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress: Extreme & Outrageous Conduct

Under Washington State law, what is required to prevail on a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress? Here's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).



Intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) is also known as the tort of outrage. A tort is a civil wrong, other than breach of contract, for which remedies may be obtained. To prevail on a claim for outrage, a plaintiff must prove the following three elements:
  1. extreme and outrageous conduct
  2. intentional or reckless infliction of emotional distress, and
  3. severe emotional distress on the part of the plaintiff
See Robel v. Roundup Corporation, 148 Wn.2d 35 (Wash. 2002).


The three elements are fact questions for the jury, and the first element of the test goes to the jury only after the court determines "if reasonable minds could differ on whether the conduct was sufficiently extreme to result in liability." Id.

To establish the first IIED element, the plaintiff must prove "that the conduct was so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community." Id. (citing Dicomes v. State, 113 Wn.2d 612, 630, 782 P.2d 1002 (1989)) (internal quotation marks omitted).


If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced Washington State Attorney to discuss your case. Please note: the information contained in this article is not offered as legal advice and will not form an attorney-client relationship with either this author or Williams Law Group, PS; please see our DISCLAIMER.


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