Piao v. Russbach
Absent evidence that the defendant intended to cause emotional distress and that the plaintiff suffered severe emotional distress as a result, a court may dismiss the plaintiff's allegations of intentional infliction of emotional distress as conclusory. The plaintiff, Laura Piao, sued the defendant, Daniel Russbach, alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress. Piao alleged that Russbach, a justice of the peace, falsely indicated in an affidavit that papers were served on Piao in a separate legal action. The District Court granted Russbach's motion to dismiss, for failure to state a claim. Piao filed an appeal to the 2nd Circuit. To prevail on a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress, a plaintiff must prove: 1.) the defendant intended to inflict emotional distress, or knew or should have known that emotional distress was the likely result of the defendant's conduct; 2.) the defendant's conduct was extreme and outrageous; 3.) the defendant's conduct was the cause of the plaintiff's emotional distress; and 4.) the plaintiff's emotional distress was severe. The 2nd Circuit found that allegations in Piao's amended complaint were conclusory. "[T]here are no factual allegations," wrote the 2nd Circuit, "that support the amended complaint's conclusory assertions with respect to the defendant's intent to cause emotional distress, the severity of Piao's distress (if any), or the causal relationship between the alleged conduct and the asserted distress." The 2nd Circuit affirmed the judgment of the District Court, Kravitz, J. Attorney John Williams represented the plaintiff, and Attorney Bruce Matzkin represented the defendant.