Supreme Court agrees gunshot victim can sue 911 operator
Yesterday, the Michigan Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeals' decision that Lorraine Hayes can sue the 911 operator who berated her when she called to report that she had been shot. A more complete account of Hayes' claim can be found in earlier posts on this site. In short, while Hayes was lying on the floor bleeding, the operator questioned her veracity and whether she was a "mental patient". Hayes ultimately received medical care after calling her son in Minnesota, who called Detroit Police on her behalf.
Hayes filed suit on several theories, all of which were dismissed with the exception of her claim that the operator, Kimberly Langford, was guilty of the intentional infliction of emotional distress. The Supreme Court majority allowed this claim to stand, although the 3 remaining members of the "Engler Majority" would have dismissed Hayes' claim entirely. It remains questionable whether Hayes can prove to a jury's satisfaction that Langford's misconduct meets the operative definition of "intentional," and not merely stupid, insensitive and negligent.