Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ford v. Revlon, Inc. case brief

Ford v. Revlon, Inc. case brief summary
734 P.2d 580 (1987)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Plaintiff employee sought review of the order of the Court of Appeals, Division One (Arizona), which reversed the judgment of the trial court entered on a jury verdict against defendant employer for intentional infliction of emotional distress arising out of the sexual harassment of plaintiff by her supervisor.

CASE FACTS
Defendant employer failed follow its policies in investigating plaintiff employee's complaint of sexual harassment by her supervisor. Plaintiff sought recovery of damages from her supervisor and from defendant. The jury found the supervisor not liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress, but did find defendant liable for that tort.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The trial court entered judgment for plaintiff for the compensatory and punitive damages assessed by the jury. The intermediate appellate court reversed the judgment of the trial court.

DISCUSSION

  • On appeal, the court vacated the decision of the intermediate appellate court and reinstated the trial court's judgment. 
  • The court held that defendant's failure to investigate plaintiff's complaint was independent of the supervisor's abusive treatment of plaintiff. 
  • Defendant's conduct was extreme or outrageous, its reckless disregard of the supervisor's conduct made it nearly certain that emotional distress would occur, and emotional distress did occur. 
  • Finally, the court affirmed the trial court's award of attorneys fees to plaintiff, based on the breach of an implied contract between plaintiff and defendant, but for which the tort would not have occurred.
CONCLUSION
The court vacated the decision of the intermediate appellate court and reinstated the trial court's judgment for plaintiff employee against defendant employer for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

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