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Boyles v. Kerr

Supreme Court of Texas
855 S.W.2d 593 (1993)


Facts

Dan Boyles, Jr., aged 17, with the aid of his friends Karl Broesche, Ray Widner, and John Tamborello (defendants), surreptitiously videotaped Boyles having sexual intercourse with Susan Leigh Kerr (plaintiff). Boyles took possession of the videotape shortly after it was made and then showed it on three occasions to 10 friends. Gossip about the tape spread quickly to Kerr’s friends and to the universities that Boyles and Kerr attended. Kerr did not learn about the tape until approximately four months after it was made. Kerr confronted Boyles, who handed the tape over to Kerr. Kerr then filed suit against the defendants for intentional invasion of privacy, negligent invasion of privacy, and negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED). Kerr alleged that she suffered humiliation and severe emotional distress from the widespread and adverse notoriety stemming from the tape. At the close of the evidence at trial, Kerr dropped all but the NIED claim. The jury held for Kerr and awarded her $500,000 in compensatory damages and $500,000 in punitive damages. Boyles appealed. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that Kerr had sufficiently made a case for NIED. The Supreme Court of Texas granted certiorari to review.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Phillips, C.J.)

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