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A Delaware man who underwent a colonoscopy procedure claims that he woke up from the anesthesia to find himself wearing a pair of pink women's underwear.
The man, 32-year-old Andrew Walls, was an employee of the Delaware Surgery Center in Dover at the time he underwent the colonoscopy exam in 2012, reports The News Journal. According to the lawsuit, when Walls "recovered from the effects of the anesthesia administered by defendants, he awoke to realize that while he was unconscious pink women's underwear had been placed on his body."
While the apparent prank may have been in unquestionably poor taste, is it grounds for a winnable lawsuit?
Intentional, Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress
When a person's intentionally causes another person to suffer severe emotional trauma, the victim can recover damages in a lawsuit for intentional infliction of emotional distress. A victim may also recover for emotional trauma even when the defendant did not intend to cause emotional distress in a suit for negligent infliction of emotional distress.
However, just because a person's conduct may be rude or offensive in some way does not necessarily mean that a person who is offended can recover in a suit for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Recovery for intentional infliction of emotional distress is generally limited to extreme or outrageous conduct that causes severe emotional distress.
Proving Emotional Distress
Generally, to prove emotional distress in a claim for intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress, a victim may need to show a high degree of mental anguish, persisting over time. In cases of negligent infliction of emotional distress, plaintiff may also need to show that the emotional distress caused some form of physical harm, such as insomnia, headaches, or other medical problems.
In Walls' lawsuit, he claims that the incident caused him "extreme emotional distress, embarrassment, and humiliation" in addition to mental anguish, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and other damages.