570 N.E.2d 27 (Ind. 1991)
PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Plaintiff filed a complaint against defendants, daughter, father, and three family members, alleging trespass, assault, harassment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress and sought to recover damages for his emotional and psychological injury. The Court affirmed the entry of summary judgment for the daughter, father, and three family members. The litigant sought transfer for review.
-The litigant asked the daughter over to his place.
-A few hours later someone knocked on the door of the litigant's mobile home.
-The litigant testified he got out of bed and answered the door where he saw a female figure in the dark.
-The litigant went and put on some clothes and when he returned the daughter, father, and three family members were in his family room.
-The father had a gun. The father threatened to "jump astraddle."
-The litigant testified that later he sought psychological counseling and therapy.
-The litigant also testified he had encountered the father in a restaurant where he continued to threaten and show the litigant the gun.
On review, the court held that (1) the Indiana "impact rule" did not apply to prohibit recover for emotional distress when sustained in the course of a tortious trespass, (2) it was for the jury to determine whether a trespass occurred and whether such intentional trespass foreseeably would provoke an emotional disturbance or trauma, and (3) it was for the jury to determine whether the litigant's apprehension of being shot or injured was one that would normally be aroused in the mind of a reasonable person.
-The general rule, known as THE IMPACT RULE, is that damages for mental anguish are recoverable only when accompanied by and resulting from a physical injury.
-The rationale behind this rule is that absent physical injury, mental anguish is speculative, subject to exaggeration, likely to lead to fictitious claims, and often so unforeseeable that there is no rational basis for awarding damages.
-The "impact rule" does not apply to prohibit recovery for emotional distress when sustained in the course of a tortious trespass.
- When one intentionally invades the premises of another in such a way as to provoke a reasonably foreseeable emotional disturbance or trauma of the rightful occupier of the premises, the occupier may, in addition to recovering damages to the realty, if any, recover damages for such emotional injury.
-The mere fact of a physical injury, however minor, does not make mental distress damages any less speculative, subject to exaggeration, or likely to lead to fictitious claims.
CONCLUSION: The court accepted transfer of the case, vacated the appellate court's opinion, reversed the entry of summary judgment as to the counts alleging trespass and assault, and affirmed the entry of summary judgment on the counts alleging invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The court remanded for further proceedings. The court held the litigant could not simultaneously maintain actions for harassment and trespass.
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