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Ford v. Revlon, Inc.

Arizona Supreme Court
734 P.2d 580 (1987)


Facts

Leta Fay Ford (plaintiff) worked at Revlon, Inc. (Revlon) (defendant) for ten years, most recently in the company’s purchasing department in Phoenix, Arizona. Revlon hired Karl Braun (defendant), a purchasing department manager, and was thus Ford’s supervisor. During a “business” dinner and later at a company picnic, Braun made inappropriate sexual comments and touched Ford in a sexual manner. After Ford rejected Braun’s advances, he informed her that she would “regret this.” Thereafter, Ford spoke with a number of Revlon personnel about the unwanted contact and statements made by Braun. When meeting with a personnel manager, Ford became very emotional when recounting the incidents and said that she was afraid of Braun. Ford also petitioned for a transfer out of the purchasing department. During the time of the harassment, Ford developed high blood pressure, a nervous tic in her left eye, chest pains, rapid breathing, and other symptoms. After Ford had spent more than nine months speaking to various Revlon personnel, Braun was first confronted and told that he would be “closely monitored.” A full year and one month after Braun’s initial act of harassment he was issued a letter of censure from Revlon. Almost four months later, Ford attempted suicide. Shortly thereafter, Braun was terminated. Ford brought suit against Braun and Revlon for assault and battery and for intentional infliction of emotional distress. A jury found Braun liable for assault and battery, but not liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress and found Revlon liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress, but not liable for assault and battery. Revlon appealed. The court of appeals reversed and held since Braun, as an agent of Revlon, could be found not guilty of intentional infliction of emotional distress, then Revlon, as principal, could not be found guilty. The Arizona Supreme Court granted review of the case.

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Holding and Reasoning (Cameron, J.)

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