TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Southwestern Law School

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Rabin on Stand Alone Emotional Harm

Bob Rabin has posted to SSRN Stand Alone Emotional Harm:  Old Wine in New Bottles.  The abstract provides:

In their contribution to the 2023 Clifford Symposium on Tort Law and Social Policy, Professors Kenneth Abraham and G. Edward White advance the interesting thesis that the ancient tort of offensive battery, initially recognized under the writ of trespass, and later substantiated in the three iterations of the Restatement of Torts, has experience newfound popularity in its linkage to federal statutory claims of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and constitutional deprivation of civil rights in Section 1983 cases.

In Part I of this essay, I provide a broader context on the long history of misconduct generating a claim for “offensive” behavior without physical harm. Then, in Part II, I address the many pathways of a far more expansive conception of recoverable stand-alone emotional harm that rests on cultural change in a distinctly modern-day setting. Finally, I offer some concluding observations.

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