Intentionally inflicting emotional distress is an intentional tort in Florida. Battery, conversion and assault are all intentional torts. In a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, or IIED, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant engaged in an intentional or reckless act that caused her severe emotional pain. She must also prove that the action by the defendant was outrageous or extreme. According to the Legal Information Institute, some courts would say the defendant’s conduct must be beyond any type of conduct that people would expect in a civilized society.

So, assume that there is a woman named Penelope and she lives in a house with her two children. One day, Doug comes running into Penelope’s office and tells her that he just saw her house in flames and screams for help were coming from inside. Penelope is so distressed that she collapses, and only then does Doug explain that he was just kidding. Well, this should be sufficient for an IIED claim, because Doug caused so much distress that Penelope collapsed and his actions were extreme because he suggested that her children were in mortal danger.

According to Louisiana State University, IIED claims are difficult to prove and often fail in court. Everyday insoles or problems that people encounter at work are simply insufficient to constitute an intentional infliction of emotional distress because these acts are not so extreme.

To summarize, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant intentionally committed an extreme or outrageous act that caused the plaintiff severe emotional pain. It is often difficult to prove IIED claims, because the defendant’s actions have to be outrageous.