Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress Caused By Bathroom Spying

On March 9, 2023, the Appellate Division, First Department lightened the burden of proof required to recover money damages for the negligent infliction of emotional distress cause of action. The defendant owned a building in Manhattan where a camera with a recording device was found set up to view the women's restroom through a hole cut between the men's and women's restrooms. The plaintiffs were comprised of 14 women who were the subject of graphic surreptitiously recorded videos. The appellate court explained that in the absence of a physical injury to recover damages for emotional injuries only, from the building owner (who clearly had constructive notice of the grapefruit size hole in the wall) the plaintiffs did not have to prove "extreme and outrageous conduct" as is required under a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress.

It would be a simple matter to prove that the creep who installed the spy camera engaged in "extreme and outrageous conduct" but far more difficult against the building owner who simply failed to investigate the purpose of a large hole between the restrooms. The appellate court emphasized that the plaintiffs "unquestionably understandably" suffered emotional trauma because their testimony of experiencing disgust, mortification. paranoia and feeling violated was reasonably expected. Thus, the court stated that the plaintiffs had satisfied the requisite standard of the "likelihood of genuine and serious mental distress, arising from special circumstances." Brown v New York Design Ctr., Inc., 2023 N.Y. Slip Op. 01228

Ronald C. Burke, Esq

Trial Attorney with 30+ Years of Experience Attorney Ronald C. Burke, Esq. has more than 30 years of experience and has focused his career on representing clients in cases involving personal injury, medical malpractice and legal malpractice. He is a seasoned trial lawyer and has won many seven-figure settlements and verdicts for his clients over the years, including many case victories listed among the largest in the history of the New York State. He has been featured in the news and is a regular lecturer for the New York County Lawyers Association, as well as having lectured before the New York State Bar Association. Ron is also an attorney with Kelner & Kelner, a New York personal injury law firm. Awards and Accolades Mr. Burke's awards and accolades are many. Among them, he has been included in New York Super Lawyers® each year since 2010, and he has received the highest-possible AV® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®. Verdict Search, a part of the New York Law Journal, frequently recognizes his notable successes after winning some of the highest settlements and verdicts in past years. He was also featured in their list of the "Top New York Verdicts " and "Top New York Settlements." He is a member of the New York State Bar Association and is licensed to practice law in the U.S. District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, as well as before the United States Supreme Court. When Attorney Burke is not handling legal malpractice cases, he is highly involved in the local community. He was a member of the Village of Rockville Centre Volunteer Fire Department, has served on the local school board and as Chairman of the local Zoning Board. Learn more about Attorney Burke and how he can skillfully handle your malpractice case by contacting the Law Offices of Ronald C. Burke, Esq. right away to schedule your complimentary case evaluation. Our firm is here to help! Contact a New York Legal Malpractice Attorney Our firm provides each client's case with thorough preparation and aggressive representation, ensuring that you win the best possible results for your case whether it is settled or goes to trial. As a seasoned trial lawyer, Mr. Burke can provide the strong and relentless representation you need to establish negligence in a legal malpractice case and to recover any damages you may have suffered. Our firm can recover compensation for pre-trial and trial malpractice, violations of fee arrangements, loss of income, pain and suffering, and much more. Contact us today!


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