Alcorn v. Anbro Engineering, Inc.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Writing for the CourtBURKE; MOSK
Parties, 468 P.2d 216, 2 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. (BNA) 712, 2 Empl. Prac. Dec. P 10,211, 62 Lab.Cas. P 9440 Manuel D. ALCORN, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. ANBRO ENGINEERING, INC., et al., Defendants and Respondents. L.A. 29683
Decision Date24 April 1970

Page 88

86 Cal.Rptr. 88
2 Cal.3d 493, 468 P.2d 216, 2 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. (BNA) 712,
2 Empl. Prac. Dec. P 10,211, 62 Lab.Cas. P 9440
Manuel D. ALCORN, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
ANBRO ENGINEERING, INC., et al., Defendants and Respondents.
L.A. 29683.
April 24, 1970.

Page 89

[468 P.2d 217] [2 Cal.3d 496] Robert D. Bash, Los Angeles, and Hillel Chodos, Beverly Hills, for plaintiff and appellant.

Haight, Lyon, Smith & Nye, Charles B. Smith and Henry F. Walker, Los Angeles, for defendants and respondents.

BURKE, Justice.

Plaintiff appeals from an order of dismissal entered after defendants' demurrer to the third amended complaint was sustained without leave to amend. The complaint seeks to recover actual and exemplary damages against defendants, based upon their alleged intentional infliction of emotional distress and alleged violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act (Civ.Code, §§ 51, 52). We have concluded that the complaint states a cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress, and that the order of dismissal must be reversed.

At the outset, it is well settled that a general demurrer admits the truth of all material factual allegations in the complaint (Flores v. Arroyo, 56 Cal.2d 492, 497, 15 Cal.Rptr. 87, 364 P.2d 263); that the question of plaintiff's ability to prove these allegations, or the possible difficulty in making such proof does not concern the reveiwing court (Katenkamp v. Union Realty Co., 6 Cal.2d 765, 769, 59 P.2d 473; Division of Labor Law Enforcement v. Barnes, 205 Cal.App.2d 337, 346, 23 Cal.Rptr. 55); and that plaintiff need only plead facts showing that he may be entitled to some relief (Vanoni v. Western Airlines, 247 Cal.App.2d 793, 795, 56 Cal.Rptr. 115).

In his first cause of action, plaintiff alleged that he is a Negro employed as a truckdriver by defendant Anbro Engineering, Inc., a corporation owned and operated by defendants Thomas Anderson, Sr., and Harlon Anderson, doing business as Anderson Bros., a partnership. On the day of the incident at issue, plaintiff informed defendant Palmer, Anbro's Caucasian field superintendent and plaintiff's foreman, that plaintiff, in his capacity as shop steward for the Teamster's Union, had advised another Anbro employee that he should not drive a certain truck to the job site, since that employee was not a teamster. Plaintiff's remarks to Palmer allegedly were neither rude, insubordinate nor otherwise violative of plaintiff's duties as an employee.

Immediately thereafter, Palmer allegedly shouted at plaintiff in a rude, violent and insolent manner as follows: 'You goddam 'niggers' are not going[2 Cal.3d 497] to tell me about the rules. I don't want any 'niggers' working for me. I am getting rid of all the 'niggers'; go pick up and deliver that 8-ton roller to the other job site and get your pay check; you're fired.' Plaintiff thereupon delivered the roller and reported the incident to defendant Thomas Anderson, Jr., a Caucasian and Anbro's secretary, who allegedly ratified and confirmed Palmer's acts, including plaintiff's discharge, on behalf of Anbro and the other defendants.

As a result of the foregoing incident, plaintiff allegedly suffered humiliation, mental anguish and emotional and physical distress. Plaintiff was sick and ill for several weeks thereafter, was unable to work, and sustained shock, nausea and insomnia.

Plaintiff further alleged that defendant Palmer's conduct was intentional and malicious, and done for the purpose of causing plaintiff to suffer humiliation, mental anguish and emotional and physical distress, and that defendant Anderson, Jr.'s conduct in confirming and ratifying Palmer's conduct and in discharging plaintiff, was done with knowledge that plaintiff's emotional and physical distress would thereby increase, and was done intentionally or with a wanton and reckless disregard of the consequences to plaintiff.

Plaintiff also alleged that Negroes such as plaintiff are particularly susceptible to

Page 90

[468 P.2d 218] emotional and physical distress from conduct such as committed by defendants.

Plaintiff was reinstated with Anbro through grievance and arbitration procedures, and has received back pay. This action seeks the recovery of actual and exemplary 1 damages for the emotional and physical distress allegedly suffered by him.

This state has long recognized the right to recover damages for the intentional and unreasonable infliction of mental or emotional distress which results in foreseeable physical injury to plaintiff. (State Rubbish, etc., Assn. v. Siliznoff, Supra, 38 Cal.2d 330, 336--337, 240 P.2d 282; Vargas v. Ruggiero, 197 Cal.App.2d 709, 717--718, 17 Cal.Rptr. 568; Richardson v. Pridmore, 97 Cal.App.2d 124, 130, 217 P.2d 113; Bowden v. Spiegel, Inc., 96 Cal.App.2d 793, 794--795, 216 P.2d 571; Emden v. Vitz, 88 Cal.App.2d 313, 316--319, 198 P.2d 696; see Rest.2d Torts, § 312.)

Plaintiff's allegations that defendants intentionally inflicted emotional [2 Cal.3d 498] distress for the purpose of causing plaintiff to suffer emotional and physical harm, and that plaintiff did suffer physical illness, shock, nausea and insomnia as a result thereof, meet the requirements of the...

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493 practice notes
  • Committee On Children's Television, Inc. v. General Foods Corp.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • December 22, 1983
    ...or the possible difficulty in making such proof does not concern the reviewing court." (Alcorn v. Anbro Engineering, Inc. (1970) 2 Cal.3d 493, 496, 86 Cal.Rptr. 88, 468 P.2d 216.) We must therefore assume that defendants did in substance make each of the representations listed in paragraph ......
  • Edwards v. Centex Real Estate Corp., Nos. A074435
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • February 27, 1997
    ...(Code Civ.Proc., § 438; White v. Davis (1975) 13 Cal.3d 757, 765, 120 Cal.Rptr. 94, 533 P.2d 222; Alcorn v. Anbro Engineering, Inc. (1970) 2 Cal.3d 493, 496, 86 Cal.Rptr. 88, 468 P.2d 216; Daar v. Yellow Cab Co. (1967) 67 Cal.2d 695, 713, 63 Cal.Rptr. 724, 433 P.2d 732; Dale v. City of Moun......
  • Foley v. Interactive Data Corp.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • December 29, 1988
    ...Richfield Co., supra, 27 Cal.3d 167, 170, 164 [765 P.2d 375] Cal.Rptr. 839, 610 P.2d 1330; Alcorn v. Anbro Engineering, Inc. (1970) 2 Cal.3d 493, 496, 86 Cal.Rptr. 88, 468 P.2d According to the complaint, plaintiff is a former employee of defendant, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chase Manhat......
  • Doctors' Co. Ins. Services v. Superior Court, No. C004651
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • December 3, 1990
    ...their action, which must stand or fall on the facts alleged in the second amended complaint. (See Alcorn v. Anbro Engineering, Inc. (1970) 2 Cal.3d 493, 497, 86 Cal.Rptr. 88, 468 P.2d 216.) Lee v. Travelers Companies (1988) 205 Cal.App.3d 691, 252 Cal.Rptr. 468 held a plaintiff cannot avoid......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
493 cases
  • Committee On Children's Television, Inc. v. General Foods Corp.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • December 22, 1983
    ...or the possible difficulty in making such proof does not concern the reviewing court." (Alcorn v. Anbro Engineering, Inc. (1970) 2 Cal.3d 493, 496, 86 Cal.Rptr. 88, 468 P.2d 216.) We must therefore assume that defendants did in substance make each of the representations listed in paragraph ......
  • Edwards v. Centex Real Estate Corp., Nos. A074435
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • February 27, 1997
    ...(Code Civ.Proc., § 438; White v. Davis (1975) 13 Cal.3d 757, 765, 120 Cal.Rptr. 94, 533 P.2d 222; Alcorn v. Anbro Engineering, Inc. (1970) 2 Cal.3d 493, 496, 86 Cal.Rptr. 88, 468 P.2d 216; Daar v. Yellow Cab Co. (1967) 67 Cal.2d 695, 713, 63 Cal.Rptr. 724, 433 P.2d 732; Dale v. City of Moun......
  • Foley v. Interactive Data Corp.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • December 29, 1988
    ...Richfield Co., supra, 27 Cal.3d 167, 170, 164 [765 P.2d 375] Cal.Rptr. 839, 610 P.2d 1330; Alcorn v. Anbro Engineering, Inc. (1970) 2 Cal.3d 493, 496, 86 Cal.Rptr. 88, 468 P.2d According to the complaint, plaintiff is a former employee of defendant, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chase Manhat......
  • Doctors' Co. Ins. Services v. Superior Court, No. C004651
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • December 3, 1990
    ...their action, which must stand or fall on the facts alleged in the second amended complaint. (See Alcorn v. Anbro Engineering, Inc. (1970) 2 Cal.3d 493, 497, 86 Cal.Rptr. 88, 468 P.2d 216.) Lee v. Travelers Companies (1988) 205 Cal.App.3d 691, 252 Cal.Rptr. 468 held a plaintiff cannot avoid......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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