Legal Question in Civil Rights Law in California

Requesting referral for Tort of intentional outrage, also need investigator

Asked on 10/28/15, 8:14 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Frank Pray Employment Law Office of Frank Pray

It's difficult choosing a competent and reputable attorney when there are so many different kinds of law and kinds of lawyers. This forum is probably not the best for this kind of referral process. Law Guru has a directory. You might look at the quality of these posted responses as a clue into the Attorney's skill set. Some criteria you might consider: years of practice; specialization or focus within my legal issue; professional memberships, especially those relevant to my legal problem; disciplinary history with the State Bar; Testimonials and social media ratings; trial and litigation experience; communication style and personalty ( some insight is possible from just a short preliminary telephone conversation.) You should even evaluate how his or her office staff responds. Are they positive and pleasant?

The tort you are identifying is technically called "intentional infliction of emotional distress." ["IIED."] The wrongful behavior must rise to the level of "shocking the social conscience" because it is so outrageous and outside basic norms of a civilized society. For example, the commission of a crime would be such conduct, so that a sexual harassment that included an act of rape or assault and battery would not only support damages for the sexual harassment but also "IIED."

With this definition of "IIED" you are generally looking for the attorney who focuses her work on the underlying relationship between the parties. For example, an employment attorney in the sexual harassment example I gave, could handle the preparation of the "IIED" case. On the other hand, if the "IIED" occurred outside of work, as the result of a vicious personal verbal attack to destroy a personal reputation, you might consider a general personal injury attorney. If the "outrageous conduct" occurred between two businesses as part of a deal, you would choose a a business litigation attorney. The reason is that the "IIED" is only one of multiple theories your attorney would present as part of the whole case.

I would suggest picking your attorney, and working with your attorney to select your investigator. If time is of the essence to preserve the evidence as your looking for counsel, then as you are interviewing potential attorneys in the fields of expertise relevant to your case, ask them for a referral.

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Answered on 10/28/15, 8:40 am

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