Gagliardi v. Denny's Restaurants, Inc.

815 P.2d 1362, 117 Wash. 2d 426 (1991)

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Gagliardi v. Denny’s Restaurants, Inc.

Washington Supreme Court

815 P.2d 1362, 117 Wash. 2d 426 (1991)

Facts

Ronda Gagliardi (plaintiff) was a bartender at a restaurant owned by Denny’s Restaurants, Inc. (Denny’s) (defendant). Denny’s terminated Gagliardi’s employment after she was fighting on the premises in violation of company policy. Gagliardi sought treatment from a psychiatrist who diagnosed her with acute traumatic stress syndrome due to her termination. Gagliardi filed a breach-of-contract claim and a tort claim for outrage against Denny’s, alleging that Denny’s did not follow the terms of the employee handbook in discharging her. Among other things, Gagliardi sought damages for emotional distress. Denny’s moved to preclude emotional-distress damages before trial, and the court first granted the motion and then reversed, denying the motion. Following the presentation of Gagliardi’s case at trial, the court granted Denny’s motion for a directed verdict on her outrage claim. After trial concluded, the jury found for Gagliardi, awarding her $55,000 in economic damages and $75,000 in noneconomic damages. The court denied Denny’s motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, and Denny’s appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Dolliver, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Utter, J.)

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