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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    4

    Default Emotional Distress As A Result Of Negligence

    I live in New Jersey. I wish to sue someone for negligence. Here is the synopsis of my situation:

    In the summer of 2006, after my freshman year of college, I developed clinical depression and was put on the anti-depressant, Lexapro. Two months into my suffering, I cheated on my girlfriend by kissing another girl. This girl’s name was Cindi. At the time I thought this would help my depression but it actually made things incredibly worse for me because of the state I was in. After doing this, for eight weeks, I suffered a tremendous, tremendous amount. During this time I could barely sleep or eat, had multiple panic attacks a day, was hospitalized, and couldn’t focus enough to do even simple, everyday tasks. Those 8 weeks of my life will always affect me, and I feel that I am totally and solely responsible for causing myself that pain. This is something I cannot live with and have seen multiple counselors about, but to no avail. I realized after those 8 weeks, however, that if I could just ask Cindi some questions (why she did it, being one) about that night that it might help me realize that I was not totally responsible for the event that caused my pain. Cindi, however, has refused to talk to me about the situation or answer any of my questions despite knowing how much I am suffering, as I have made that clear to her. I would have been cured of my depression months ago if it weren't for this issue that still haunts me. Because of it, however, my suffering is so severe that I cannot focus in school or on everyday tasks and cannot enjoy anything in my life. I am sometimes afraid that I will become so depressed that I will hurt myself or worse (I regret admitting this, but I deem it necessary to portray the severity of my suffering), and have seen multiple counselors since this situation arose. I could finally move on and enjoy life again if she would simply give me 5 minutes of her time on the phone to answer some questions I have about that one night, and she knows this.
    I wish to sue Cindi for negligent infliction of emotional distress. I believe she has acted negligently because she knows how I am suffering, but refuses to talk to me for five minutes anyway. She simply disregards the pain she is causing me by not talking to me. I have read that, to be guilty of NIED, three things must be true: (1) The defendant must have owed the plaintiff a duty of care, (2) the defendant failed to act according to a reasonable standard of care, and (3) the plaintiff suffered some harm or loss because of what the defendant did or didn’t do. Here is what I have read when researching the first two of these factors of negligence:
    1) “If it is reasonably foreseeable that you might suffer some sort of harm or loss because of something someone else does, then that person owes you a duty of care.” (I have made it incredibly clear to Cindi how I am suffering and that it is because she won’t answer me.)
    2) ”When looking at what the reasonable person would have done, the court will look at certain things, including: The risk of harm occurring” (100%, as the harm is occurring now), “The possible seriousness of that harm” (I made it clear to her that I could hurt myself or worse), and “The burden of removing or reducing the risk”(I also made it clear that all I need is a few minutes to speak to her and that is it).
    This is what I feel is the legal basis for my case. I can provide written proof and/or witness testimony as proof for each of the three factors necessary for accusation of negligence. Is my case a valid one? If not, can someone tell me where my basis is flawed?
    I know this all might come off unusual and trivial at first glance, but I am a real victim of extreme and long-term suffering, which could have been prevented by a short, simple conversation. While on the outside it may seem frivolous, to me, on the inside of the situation, it is very real and very painful. Thank you for your time spent reading this and responding to me. I greatly, greatly appreciate any help in my situation.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    114

    Default Re: Emotional Distress As A Result Of Negligence

    Not sure of the validity of your claim, but just wondering, do you really think suing her for money is going to cure your depression? Everything you wrote in your post says if she would just talk to you, you would be cured, so.... even if you get $$ out of her, you still might not get to talk to her about what you want to, and you'd still be in the same boat, right?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Emotional Distress As A Result Of Negligence

    I figure if I had a valid case against her, during mediation I could just say talk to me for 5 minutes and I'll drop the case. I'd use it as sort of a bargaining chip I guess.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Emotional Distress As A Result Of Negligence

    She doesn't owe you any legal duty of care. In no realm of reality is a single kiss (of which you were a willing participant) going to pin her for your suffering. It's just not gonna happen. You should be aware that attempts to contact or harass her against her will could result in her seeking a restraining order against you, particularly if she is aware of your suicidal condition (in that a great many homicides of ex's involve the phenemenon of murder/suicide and she would have little trouble convicing a court of "reasonable fear"). As you are not a psychologist, psychiatrist or otherwise reputable clinician specializing in curative approaches to depression, you cannot know that "talking to her" would miraculously cure you - you'll have a difficult time getting any licensed professional to concur with this idea, and not a snowball's chance in hell of convincing a jury. Trying to blackmail her into talking to you by threatening a law suit is only going to increase her ability to take legal action against you (including the mentioned restraining order) if pressure dictates action on her part.

    By your own admission, your depressive suffering existed before you met her, so pinning everything you are experiencing on her isn't going to fly. Try to spend your energy (which I know is very limited in cases of clinical depression) in areas that are likely to actually have a positive outcome for you. The more time you spend on yesterday, the less time you have for today and tomorrow. And seek professional psychiatric care (by a doctor, not just a counselor), as soon as possible - on an in-patient basis if needed - to include a comprehensive exam of factors like your natural hormone balances, which can create havoc with drugs like Lexipro or Wellbutrin if they are out of whack (making a bad problem even worse).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Emotional Distress As A Result Of Negligence

    Ok. Thank you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Emotional Distress As A Result Of Negligence

    I wholly agree with Aardvarc, but just wanted to share some more in case you're still considering pursuing this...

    The third element you found is not always easy to satisfy. Many jurisdictions require a physical manifestation of harm. Your depression may or may not make this cut depending on NJ case law... Since you were depressed before the "kiss," I doubt your depression would qualify as a sufficient physical manifestation of the harm incurred, if its a physical manifestation at all...

    You clearly have the ability to focus on this... Use your efforts and direct to healthier activities, like an education. Just pretend your homework will lead to a way to resolve your depression... I think professional help should certainly be considered also.

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