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Kentucky Fried Chicken National Management Co. v. Weathersby

607 A.2d 8 (1992)

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Kentucky Fried Chicken National Management Co. v. Weathersby

Maryland Court of Appeals

607 A.2d 8 (1992)

Facts

Serita Weathersby (plaintiff) worked as a training store manager for Kentucky Fried Chicken National Management Co. (KFC) (defendant). Weathersby’s supervisor, Lee Watts, was dating an assistant manager at Weatherby’s store, causing Weathersby to lodge a complaint with the company and confront Watts. As a result, Watts began harassing Weathersby. After money was found missing from the cash register at Weathersby’s store, Weathersby informed KFC’s regional security director that Watts had not changed the locks in the cash register, and she also informed the director of Watts’s relationship with his subordinate. A few days later, Watts suspended Weathersby in front of customers and employees and ultimately demoted her. After this, Weathersby had to seek psychiatric help and was admitted to the hospital for six weeks. Weathersby’s doctor indicated she suffered from borderline personality traits, which could cause her great distress. The doctor also noted that such traits would not necessarily be noticed by employers. As a result of her injuries, Weathersby brought suit against KFC for intentional infliction of emotional distress. A jury found in favor of Weathersby and awarded her damages. KFC moved for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, and the trial court granted the motion, noting there was no evidence that KFC knew Weathersby suffered from an emotional condition that made her more vulnerable to emotional distress. Weathersby appealed. The court of special appeals reversed and held that Weathersby submitted sufficient proof for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Chasanow, J.)

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