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Russell v. Salve Regina College

649 F. Supp. 391 (1986)

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Russell v. Salve Regina College

United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island

649 F. Supp. 391 (1986)

Facts

Sharon Russell (plaintiff) was a nursing student at Salve Regina College (Salve). Russell was unable to control an extreme, chronic weight problem, which caused friction with Salve faculty. For example, the faculty had difficulty finding uniforms for her, used her to demonstrate how to care for obese patients, and lectured her about losing weight. Russell claimed the faculty’s conduct was tormenting and humiliating, but the faculty claimed it was expressing concern and stating school policy. Tensions rose during her third year because Russell did not meet the requirements of her weight-loss contract, and Salve expelled Russell. Russell then sued Salve for intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED). Russell testified that because of Salve’s conduct she suffered nightmares, nausea, vomiting, gastric upset, and hypoglycemic attacks. Russell did not argue that Salve wanted her to suffer, or even that it knew that her suffering was substantially certain. Rather, Russell argued that Salve’s recklessness was subsumed by its intentionality. Salve filed a motion for summary judgment.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Selya, J.)

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