In October of 2013, the Court of Appeals of Kentucky decided a case that involved a family which brought a lawsuit against a funeral home and cemetery for burying their loved one in the wrong burial plot. (See Keaton v. G.C. Williams Funeral Home, Inc., 2013 WL 5763238 (Ky. App. 2013)).
The family sued because the mother who had purchased a plot next to her husband died in 2010 but was not buried next to her husband. A mistake was made which was discovered approximately six weeks after the service. At that time the remains were disinterred and reinterred in the correct plot. Approximately 9 months later, the family sued the defendants alleging IIED, negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract and breach of the Kentucky Consumer Protection Act. Id. The lower court in January of 2012 granted partial summary judgment for the defense on all claims except the breach of contact claim. This appeal followed. The plaintiff’s Kentucky Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED) attorney had a hard case to win.
This appellate court noted that while this case was on appeal, the Kentucky supreme court decided the Osborne case which held that Kentucky has now expressly abandoned the impact rule and determined cases like the one at bar should be analyzed and decided under general negligence principles. Id. “Recovery for mental anguish resulting from negligence no longer requires a physical touching or an injury to the person – a fact relied upon by the trial court.” Id.
The court noted that the Osborne court held that “… to ensure claims are genuine, we agree with our sister jurisdiction, Tennessee, that recovery should be provided only for “severe” or “serious” emotional injury. A “serious” or “severe” emotional injury occurs where a reasonable person, normally constituted, would not be expected to endure the mental stress engendered by the circumstances of the case. Distress that does not significantly affect the plaintiffs everyday life or require significant treatment will not suffice. And a plaintiff claiming emotional distress damages must present expert medical or scientific proof to support the claimed injury or impairment.” (cites omitted).
In this Kentucky IIED case, the family only presented their own statements that its members suffered severe emotional distress, which is insufficient to meet its burden. Id. And as to the IIED claim, the court found that the actions by the defendant were not so extreme and outrageous as to permit recovery. Their acts were not intentional or reckless and so outrageous and intolerable that it offended against the generally accepted standards of decency and morality. Id. The court found the improper burial at best… a mistake.
If you have been the subject of a Kentucky Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED) case, please call and speak to a Kentucky Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED) attorney at the Law Offices of Andrew Alitowski, P.A. at 888-ASK-ANDREW (888-275-2637) or contact us. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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