Craft v. Rice

CourtKentucky Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtWINTERSHEIMER; STEPHENS; STEPHENSON; AKER; VANCE; STEPHENSON; AKER
PartiesAlbert CRAFT and Irene Craft, Movants, v. Roy RICE, Ashland Oil, Inc., and Ashland Coal, Inc., A Subsidiary of Ashland Oil, Inc., Respondents.
Decision Date14 June 1984

Page 247

671 S.W.2d 247
Albert CRAFT and Irene Craft, Movants,
v.
Roy RICE, Ashland Oil, Inc., and Ashland Coal, Inc., A
Subsidiary of Ashland Oil, Inc., Respondents.
Supreme Court of Kentucky.
June 14, 1984.

Page 248

Garis L. Pruitt, Ashland, for movants.

David O. Welch, Welch, McDermott & Purdom, Ashland, Michael J. Farrell, Jenkins, Fenstermaker, Krieger, Kayes & Farrell, Huntington, W.Va., for respondents.

WINTERSHEIMER, Justice.

This appeal is from a decision of the Court of Appeals which affirmed the trial court's directed verdict for the defendants based on a one-year statute of limitations. The Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of the case because it reasoned that the action was one for personal injury and governed by the one-year limitation.

The crucial issue is whether KRS 413.120(7), the five-year statute of limitations for an action for an injury "not arising on contract and not otherwise enumerated" applies to this situation rather than the one-year limit of KRS 413.140(1)(a) for injury "to the person of the plaintiff." The question involves the gravamen of the tort where there has been an intentional interference with a person's rights.

Albert and Irene Craft were husband and wife and lived in the Ashland Coal weighmaster's house where Albert worked weighing coal and coal trucks. He was indicted for second-degree forgery for allegedly falsifying weigh tickets. Ultimately he was acquitted. From May to July of 1978, Rice, a former Boyd County Sheriff, allegedly harassed Irene Craft by keeping her under surveillance at work and home, telling her over the CB radio that he would put her husband in jail and driving so as to force her vehicle into an opposing lane of traffic. It is claimed that Rice also used the CB radio to talk to Albert Craft who complained of resulting mental anguish. Irene Craft's complaints included chronic diarrhea, colitis and a nervous condition as well as mental anguish. It is undisputed that no touching occurred to either plaintiff.

The Crafts filed their suit more than one year after the last alleged act of harassment. They contend that the trial court and the Court of Appeals erred in deciding that the one-year statute of limitations applied to their situation.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's directed verdict based on the one-year statute of limitations because the trial court had characterized the cause of action as one for personal injury under the authority of Carr v. Texas Eastern Transmission Corp., Ky., 344 S.W.2d 619 (1961), and Columbus Mining v. Walker, Ky., 271 S.W.2d 276 (1954).

Page 249

This Court reverses the decision of the Court of Appeals and the circuit court because the five-year statute of limitations applies when the gist of the tort is the claimed interference with the plaintiff's rights causing emotional distress generating a cause of action regardless of whether the plaintiff suffers any bodily harm resulting from the emotional distress.

The basis of the cause of action is intentional interference with the plaintiff's rights causing emotional distress, with or without personal injury in the traditional sense. If there has been physical injury with pain to the body or mind, it is incidental to the emotional distress rather than essential to the cause of action as is the case in an action for personal injury. The plaintiff may have a cause of action for emotional distress from the intentional and unlawful interference with her rights, regardless of whether she suffers any bodily injury from such interference.

If we use the object vs. form test set out in Carr, supra, to decide what right is protected, it would be the right to be free from harassment intentionally invading the plaintiff's rights and causing emotional distress, with or without personal injury. Consequently the decision in Resthaven Memorial Cemetery v. Volk, 286 Ky. 291, 150 S.W.2d 908 (1941), applies, and the five-year statute of limitations is proper because it relates to the interference with a right not otherwise enumerated in the limitation statute. In Resthaven, supra, the recovery was permitted for mental anguish without a touching where a deceased was disinterred and reburied without notice to the family. The Crafts analogize the right of the relatives to be notified of their right to be left alone, free from harassment. The five-year statute was also applied in a later grave desecration case, Fergerson v. Utilities Elkhorn Coal Co., Ky., 313 S.W.2d 395 (1958).

There is an absence of definitive authorities for this particular situation. It is difficult to precisely label the tortious conduct presented here. An analysis of some other jurisdictions may be helpful in reviewing this question. In Moore v. Allied Chemical Corp., 480 F.Supp. 364 (E.D.Va.1979), the State of Virginia recognized such a tort, even when unaccompanied by physical injuries, when the following elements are shown: One, the wrongdoer's conduct was intentional or reckless. This element is satisfied where the wrongdoer had the specific purpose of inflicting emotional distress or where he intended his specific conduct and knew or should have known that emotional distress would likely result. Two, the conduct was outrageous and intolerable in that it offends against the generally accepted standards of decency and morality. This requirement is aimed at limiting frivolous suits and avoiding litigation in situations where only bad manners and mere hurt feelings are involved. Three, there was a causal connection between the wrongdoer's conduct and the emotional distress. Four, the emotional distress was severe. Womack v. Eldridge, 215 Va. 338, 210 S.E.2d 145, 148 (1974).

In the case of Campos v. Oldsmobile Div., General Motors Corp., 71 Mich.App. 23, 246 N.W.2d 352 (1976), the Michigan court was faced with a problem similar to the one this Court faces. The plaintiff brought suit alleging that while an employee of defendant, he was wrongfully accused of criminal activity, i.e., the possession of marijuana. The circuit court dismissed the action holding that the one-year slander statute of limitations barred the action. The Michigan Court of Appeals distinguished between a slander action which involved damage to reputation and an action for intentional infliction of emotional distress which protected a person's right to be free...

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219 practice notes
  • Huang v. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), No. 7:18-CV-11-REW
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District of Kentucky
    • October 11, 2018
    ...The IIED (Count VIII) and KRS 164.283 claims (Count IX)14 also 346 F.Supp.3d 975carry 5-year limitations periods. Craft v. Rice , 671 S.W.2d 247, 251 (Ky. 1984) ("There is a right to be free of emotional distress arising from conduct by another. Because the essence of the tort is the interf......
  • B.L. v. Schuhmann, Civil Action No. 3:18-cv-151-RGJ-CHL
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Western District of Kentucky
    • May 2, 2019
    ...by omission/duty to disclose, fraudulent concealment, and failure to report as mandated by KRS 620.030 and KRS 620.040. Craft v. Rice , 671 S.W.2d 247, 251 (Ky. 1984) ("There is a right to be free of emotional distress arising from conduct by another. Because the essence of the tort is the ......
  • Doe 1 v. Roman Catholic Diocese, No. M2001-01780-SC-R11-CV.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • January 18, 2005
    ...Grinnell Mut. Reinsurance Co., 203 N.W.2d 252, 255 (Iowa 1972); Wiehe v. Kukal, 225 Kan. 478, 592 P.2d 860, 862-63 (1979); Craft v. Rice, 671 S.W.2d 247, 251 (Ky.1984); White v. Monsanto Co., 585 So.2d 1205, 1209 (La.1991); Vicnire v. Ford Motor Credit Co., 401 A.2d 148, 154 (Me.1979); Harr......
  • Paul F. Mik, Jr., Lee Ann Mik, & Pals Enters., LLC v. Fed. Home Loan Mortg. Corp., No. 12–6051.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • February 7, 2014
    ...upon the [Miks].” The Kentucky Supreme Court recognized the tort of outrageous infliction of emotional distress in Craft v. Rice, 671 S.W.2d 247, 251 (1984). The elements of the claim are: 1. The wrongdoer's conduct must be intentional or reckless; 2. The conduct must be outrageous and into......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
219 cases
  • Huang v. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), No. 7:18-CV-11-REW
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District of Kentucky
    • October 11, 2018
    ...The IIED (Count VIII) and KRS 164.283 claims (Count IX)14 also 346 F.Supp.3d 975carry 5-year limitations periods. Craft v. Rice , 671 S.W.2d 247, 251 (Ky. 1984) ("There is a right to be free of emotional distress arising from conduct by another. Because the essence of the tort is the interf......
  • B.L. v. Schuhmann, Civil Action No. 3:18-cv-151-RGJ-CHL
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Western District of Kentucky
    • May 2, 2019
    ...by omission/duty to disclose, fraudulent concealment, and failure to report as mandated by KRS 620.030 and KRS 620.040. Craft v. Rice , 671 S.W.2d 247, 251 (Ky. 1984) ("There is a right to be free of emotional distress arising from conduct by another. Because the essence of the tort is the ......
  • Doe 1 v. Roman Catholic Diocese, No. M2001-01780-SC-R11-CV.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • January 18, 2005
    ...Grinnell Mut. Reinsurance Co., 203 N.W.2d 252, 255 (Iowa 1972); Wiehe v. Kukal, 225 Kan. 478, 592 P.2d 860, 862-63 (1979); Craft v. Rice, 671 S.W.2d 247, 251 (Ky.1984); White v. Monsanto Co., 585 So.2d 1205, 1209 (La.1991); Vicnire v. Ford Motor Credit Co., 401 A.2d 148, 154 (Me.1979); Harr......
  • Paul F. Mik, Jr., Lee Ann Mik, & Pals Enters., LLC v. Fed. Home Loan Mortg. Corp., No. 12–6051.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • February 7, 2014
    ...upon the [Miks].” The Kentucky Supreme Court recognized the tort of outrageous infliction of emotional distress in Craft v. Rice, 671 S.W.2d 247, 251 (1984). The elements of the claim are: 1. The wrongdoer's conduct must be intentional or reckless; 2. The conduct must be outrageous and into......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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