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Camper v. Minor

Tennessee Supreme Court
915 S.W.2d 437 (1996)


Facts

Bobby L. Camper II (plaintiff), while driving a cement truck, was involved in a car accident that was caused when Jennifer L. Taylor, the 16-year-old driver of a car owned by Sharon Barnett (defendant), suddenly pulled out in front of Camper at an intersection controlled by a stop sign. Taylor was killed instantly, and Camper viewed her body at close range. Camper sued Barnett and the administrator of Taylor’s estate, Daniel Minor (defendant), for negligent infliction of emotional distress, including sleep loss, inability to function normally, crying outbursts, depression, and necessity of psychiatric care. The defendants moved for summary judgment on the ground that Camper could not recover for emotional injuries because he had suffered no physical injury and did not, at the time he received the emotional injuries, fear for his own physical safety. The trial court denied the defendants’ motion because Camper had been involved in the accident and had suffered minor physical injuries. The intermediate court of appeals reversed and granted summary judgment because (1) Camper only saw Taylor’s body after the accident, when he was no longer in any fear for his safety, and (2) Camper did not have a close relationship with Taylor. Camper appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Drowota, J.)

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