Proving Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress — Some Cases Speak for Themselves

From Wasmanski v. T.G.I. Friday’s, Inc., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51290 (D.N.J. July 2, 2008):

Plaintiffs have brought this suit against Defendant T.G.I. Friday's ("Defendant" or "the Restaurant"), alleging that while dining at the Restaurant, Plaintiff Wasmanski discovered a mouse carcass in her mashed potatoes. ***

The Complaint does plead negligence—namely, negligence in failing to "refrain from serving a dead mouse to its business patrons" (Compl. p. 3, P 17), and negligent hiring / supervision of employees (Compl. p. 4)—but not negligent infliction of emotional distress. Moreover, both Plaintiffs testified unequivocally that they believe the mouse was intentionally placed in Plaintiff Wasmanski's potatoes:

Q: . . . you've suggested that it is your opinion that someone did it intentionally; correct?

[Wasmanski]: I will definitely say yes . . .

Q: Tell me what your opinion is based on.

[Wasmanski]: My opinion is based on the way that the mouse was laid, it almost seemed gently and intentionally upon the potatoes and covered gently like a blanket with the cheese. . . . It seemed very specifically laid there.

(Wasmanski Dep. p. 54-55)

Q: Can you tell me the facts you have from a firsthand perspective about someone intentionally placing some item in Ann's food on November 11, 2005?

[Wojenski]: Well, the dead mouse was placed dead center on top of the mashed potatoes, not mixed in, placed on top of the mashed potatoes and then covered with cheese. . . . It was dried out but it was not mashed up into the potatoes, because it was too intact. That's why I believe it was intentionally placed in there. If it had gone through the mixer, no way.

(Wojenski Dep. p. 40, 50)

Defense motion for summary judgment denied.

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