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Is this an undue stress lawsuit or not?

Londonderry, NH |

I am wondering how my situation fits in with the law or if it even does.

I had a female friend that I met at the bank where I do business. We were email friends for 17 years and always took a minute to chat when I was at that branch. The beginning of Sept. I was talking to her and she described how she was really uptight cause she was so busy at work and that she had an anxiety attack and had been crying in her office. My wife and I sent her a cheer up basket with balloon for which she was elated to get. As the next couple weeks went on my wife and I decided to invite her out to dinner which she refused. I was kinda caught off guard and asked why which engaged a long email discussion. 5 days before everything went down I went to open a bank account for my ebay acct. We sat down and opened the acct. and we talked for a long time and got ourselves on the same page and everything was great then we hugged and I left to go to work. During that meeting I had offered to lend her a computer for home as she didn't have one and was paying for the internet. She hesitated but said ok and we set up a time for me to bring it to her. 2 days later I got an email asking me if I could drop off the computer a day later than planned as she had to leave work right at 5 pm. Also in that email she said a guy friend not her boyfriend as she was single at that time had said to her he didn't like the idea of her taking the computer. I said to myself that is not something a plain old friend should be say but rather an insecure and jealous boyfriend. I wrote her back and told her it was no problem to change the day I dropped off the computer. I also told her my take on what her "guyfriend" had said. Now this was a Friday so I knew I wasn't going to hear from her till Monday. My wife called her on Sunday to tell her she was very welcome for the computer and the chatted for a bit. Come Monday morning I get an email from her blasting me and telling me she is thru with our friendship. This was brought on by my questioning her guy friends comments and asking why he would say that when he doesn't even know me. This absolutely knocked me for a loop. I suffer from depression and anxiety and this devastated me emotionally. It also created a bad enviroment for me at the bank where she works. Her branch is the most convienent one as the others are farther away from us and put us out of our way. I have tried for 2 months to resolve this with her but to no avail. In the meanwhile she has been having her bosses do her talking and they have basically been the most insensitive and useless people I have ever dealt with. There solution was no more contact with her and use another branch. I have been a member of that credit union for 20 years and got no customer service and not even an offer to come sit down and talk about it. It was this is it and we're done talking which I found to be very poor and greatly distressing for me. I felt that if she refused to resolve it herself then she should be moved to another branch. I got laughed at. They have now sent us a letter saying they are closing our account because of this mess which has stressed me out even more.

My question is: Do I have a case for them causing me undue stress because of the way they have conducted themselves? Any help is greatly appreciated. And again I am only asking your opinion so please don't berate me with insults to my question. Thanks.


Attorney Answers 1

  1. No. You have no case.

    Emotional distress damages were never favored by the courts to begin with. In the last 20-30 years the courts have very slowly and reluctantly started to allow such claims on a case-by-case basis. One of the touchstone requirements is that the conduct of the actor that caused the emotional distress must be so extreme and outrageous as to shock the consciousness of the courts. The sorts of things that have invoked this high standard are far and away removed from the facts in your scenario.

    Another touchstone requirement is that emotional distress must be accompanied by physical manifestations documented in a medical report.

    The case in which the New Hampshire Supreme Court for the very first time reluctantly allowed emotional distress damages only under limited circumstances involved a little girl who was hit and killed by a car in Derry where her parents saw or heard the accident. The Superior Court dismissed the case, holding that there were no emotional distress damages. On appeal, the NH Supreme Court said only under certain limited conditions will emotional distress be allowed in state courts. But, it takes something extreme like this to even raise a question of emotional distress damages.

    There is another actual NH Supreme Court case in which a guy was riding his motorcycle with his girlfriend riding on the back. The girlfriend's ex husband chased them down, ran the cycle off the road, killing the woman. Clearly the guy was devastated at the death of the love of his life, which she was. The NH Supreme Court said no emotional distress damages.

    Emotional distress damages are extremely difficult cases. I'm NOT an expert, but I have read many emotional distress cases from all over the country over the last 20+ years. Before my office went paperless I actually had a huge folder under my desk bulging with paper decisions. I say with a fair amount of confidence that no, you do not have a case.

    I can only guess that the reason that no one else has answered your question is that no one else has wanted to give you the bad news. I'm sorry.

    [This answer is provided for informational purposes only. This area of the law is highly complex. I have summarized the law for informational purposes. True legal advice can only be given in an office consultation between attorney and client in which all of the facts and the law are explored. This answer does not constitute legal advice. No attorney client relationship is contemplated by this informational answer.]

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