Logourl black
From our private database of 14,000+ case briefs...

Dickens v. Puryear

Supreme Court of North Carolina
276 S.E.2d 325 (1981)


When he was 31 years old, John Dickens (plaintiff) had sex and shared drugs and alcohol with the 17-year-old daughter of Earl and Ann Puryear (defendants). On April 2, 1975, the Puryears lured Dickens to a remote spot where he was severely beaten by several men. During the two-hour episode, Earl pointed a gun at Dickens, brandished a knife, cut Dickens’ hair, and pondered with the other assailants whether to kill or castrate him. In the end, Dickens was released under Earl’s instructions that he disconnect his phone, pack his belongings, and leave the state; otherwise, he would be killed. On March 31, 1978, Dickens sued the Puryears in a North Carolina state court, alleging that they had intentionally inflicted mental distress upon him and that such distress had caused him lasting mental and physical injuries including extreme fear, an inability to work effectively, and gastrointestinal and gum disorders. The trial court sustained the Puryears’ motion for summary judgment on the ground that Dickens’ claim was, in substance, a claim for assault and battery, which was subject to a one-year statute of limitations. An appellate court affirmed. Dickens appealed.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.


The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Holding and Reasoning (Exum, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 202,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.