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Meiter v. Cavanaugh
Colorado Court of Appeals
580 P.2d 399 (1978)
Hazel Meiter (plaintiff) entered into a contract with Frank Cavanaugh (defendant) to purchase Cavanaugh’s home for her grandchildren and widowed daughter-in-law. The contract provided that Cavanaugh could retain possession and rent the property for up to six weeks after delivery of the deed. Meiter was entitled to possession on May 26. In about late May, Meiter went to the house, and Cavanaugh informed her that he could not move until the end of the school term in early June. When Meiter explained that her daughter needed a place to live, Cavanaugh told her to move her daughter-in-law’s furniture up in “that shanty” and roll it down the hill when Cavanaugh moved out. In early June, Cavanaugh told Meiter that he was an attorney, knew his rights, and would move when he was “damn well ready.” He also called Meiter a “sick old woman.” Cavanaugh sent Meiter a letter notifying her that he was considering legal action and implying that he had special influence with the court. Meiter purchased another home for her daughter-in-law. Cavanaugh vacated in early July, leaving broken windows and other damage. Meiter spent over $900 repairing some of the damage and then sold the house at a loss of more than $1,700 plus the cost of brokerage fees. Meiter sued Cavanaugh for intentional infliction of emotional distress by outrageous conduct. The jury awarded Meiter $5,500 in actual damages and $10,000 in exemplary damages. On appeal, Cavanaugh argued that Meiter failed to establish a prima facie case of intentional infliction of emotional distress and that the evidence was insufficient to justify the award of damages.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Pierce, J.)
Concurrence/Dissent (Coyte, J.)
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