Court of Appeals of New Mexico
812 P.2d 1320 (N.M. App. 1991)
E. Arnold Hakkila (plaintiff) filed a petition for divorce from Peggy Hakkila (defendant). In response, Peggy counter-petitioned for damages arising from alleged intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED). Arnold and Peggy had separated after 10 years of marriage. Peggy claimed that, during that time, Arnold had: (1) assaulted her and screamed at her on more than one occasion, (2) locked her out of the house on one occasion, (3) remarked that she preferred women to men, and (4) frequently made other derogatory comments toward her. At a hearing, there was conflicting testimony regarding Peggy’s past mental health. One psychologist testified that Peggy had borderline personality disorder that predated the Hakkilas’ marriage. Another psychologist testified that the possible mental disorder arose during the marriage. At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court found that Peggy’s emotional and mental health, particularly since the Hakkilas’ separation, consisted of acute depression and one psychotic episode. Arnold argued that, as a matter of public policy, one spouse could not bring a cause of action in tort against the other spouse. The trial court disagreed and held in Peggy’s favor. Arnold appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Hartz, J.)
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