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Figueiredo-Torres v. Nickel

584 A.2d 69 (1991)

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Figueiredo-Torres v. Nickel

Maryland Supreme Court

584 A.2d 69 (1991)

Facts

Silvio Figueiredo-Torres (plaintiff) and his wife, Mrs. Torres, went to Herbert J. Nickel (defendant), a licensed psychologist, for marital counseling. During the course of the therapy, the couple received both joint-therapy sessions and individual therapy. During Mr. Torres’s sessions, Nickel encouraged Mr. Torres to act emotionally distant from his wife, to avoid intimate or sexual contact with her, and to separate from her. Nickel told Mr. Torres that he was codfish and Mrs. Torres deserved a fillet, Mr. Torres had bad breath and should not go near Mrs. Torres, and Mr. Torres was exclusively at fault for the couple’s marital problems. Nickel knew that Mr. Torres was emotionally and mentally unstable. Meanwhile, Nickel began to engage in a romantic relationship with Mrs. Torres. Mr. Torres filed an action against Nickel for negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED). As a result of Nickel’s actions, Mr. Torres alleged that he suffered from systemic hypertension; loss of visual acuity in one eye; had to be hospitalized due to severe emotional distress; suffered depression, anxiety, and obsession; and his ability to form relationships with women was impaired. Nickel filed a motion to dismiss Mr. Torres’s claim for IIED, and the trial court granted the motion. Mr. Torres appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Chasanow, J.)

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