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Claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress against teacher is reinstated

The Melson family from Van Buren County sued Mary Botas, a home economics teacher, and Lawton Community Schools, after Botas became frustrated with the Melson child's failure to participate in class and allegedly told him to "...just go kill yourself."  The trial judge dismissed the claim, holding that Michigan's threshold standard for showing "intentional infliction of emotional distress" was so high that Botas was immune from liability.  The appeals judges reversed, holding that the plaintiff's complaint described conduct so "extreme and outrageous" that it raised a triable issue of fact for jurors.  They emphasized the youth of the victim.  They also rejected the teacher's argument that matters of discipline are not subject to normal litigation argument.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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