Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Zalnis v. Thoroughbred Datsun Car Co. case brief

Zalnis v. Thoroughbred Datsun Car Co.
645 P.2d 292 (Colo. Ct. App. 1982)
Tort Law

PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Plaintiff claimant sought review of a judgment from the District Court of El Paso County (Colorado), dismissing her outrageous conduct claim against defendants, an automobile dealership and certain of its employees.

-The claimant purchased car from an automobile dealership.
-The deal had been approved by the president of the automobile dealership.
-After the sale was completed, the president discovered that the car had been sold at a loss.
-The president ordered the sales manager to retrieve the car or make good the loss from the salesman's salary.
-Another employee called the claimant and told her that the car was recalled and that she had to return it.
-The claimant brought the car back, but she demanded proof of the recall.
-The car was taken from her for several hours until the claimant's attorney arranged for its release. -During the time the claimant was at the automobile dealership, she alleged that she was verbally abused and continually threatened and intimidated.
-The claimant brought an action for outrageous conduct against the automobile dealership, the president, and the employee who made the call.
-The trial court granted summary judgment and dismissed the complaint.


The court reversed the judgment, holding that the conduct was not a mere insistence on rights in a permissible manner, rather it was to avoid a bad bargain, and accordingly the conduct was not privileged.

-Conduct, otherwise permissible, may become extreme and outrageous if it is an abuse by the actor of a position in which he has actual or apparent authority over the other, or the power to affect the other's interests.
-The outrageous character of the conduct may arise from the actor's knowledge that the other is peculiarly susceptible to emotional distress by reason of some physical or mental condition or peculiarity.
-There is outrageous conduct where the actor desires to inflict severe emotional distress or knows that such distress is certain or substantially certain.

CONCLUSION: The court reversed the judgment.

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