Tort Law: Stephanie and Ahmed

Stephanie and Ahmed have been dating for three years. One Saturday night, Stephanie is awoken by a pounding on her front door – it is her friend Michael. Out of breath and red in the face, he tells Stephanie that he and Ahmed had been out with friends at the local pub and after having too many drinks, Ahmed attempted to drive himself home. However, as he was leaving the pub, he made a turn down the wrong side of the road and was struck by a lorry. Ahmed was taken by ambulance to the hospital, but it doesn’t look good and the car was destroyed. Michael then tells Stephanie he has to get back to the scene of the accident, but he’ll tell the police to come by. Stephanie begins to hyperventilate and cry uncontrollably; she feels her heart beginning to pound and she can’t hear anything. Approximately thirty minutes later, Stephanie wakes up in an ambulance with Ahmed at her side.

As it later turns out, there had been no accident and Ahmed was never in danger. Stephanie was hospitalised for two days and placed on sedatives. Doctors believe that she suffered some form of sudden acute mental trauma, akin to a panic attack.

According to Michael, the whole incident involving Ahmed was simply a joke.

Stephanie comes to you for legal advice. After discussing the incident with her some more, Stephanie reveals that she dated Michael for about six months until she met his best friend, Ahmed.

Your first task as Stephanie’s solicitor is to investigate the relevant precedent to determine whether she might have a claim. You have been asked by the senior partners in your firm to attend a meeting where you will present your initial thoughts on the relative strength of Stephanie’s case. In your presentation, you will present your findings and a short sketch of your primary argument, namely that the court should adopt a new tort: intentional infliction of emotional distress.

You should produce a document to accompany your presentation which contains a bibliography and a table of cases. This should list all of the sources you have used in the preparation of your presentation.

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