Subbe-Hirt v. Baccigalupi
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
94 F.3d 111 (1996)
Elaine Subbe-Hirt (plaintiff) worked as a salesperson for Prudential Insurance Company (Prudential) (defendant). Robert Baccigalupi was Subbe-Hirt’s supervisor. Baccigalupi routinely berated and demeaned Subbe-Hirt and other women in the office. Baccigalupi used phrases like “trim her bush” to refer to chastising Subbe-Hirt and other woman employees. He also had a practice of performing “root canals” in which he verbally abused disfavored employees until they cried, with the intent of forcing them out of the company. Two sales managers testified to the fact that Baccigalupi regularly intimidated employees in an attempt to get them out of the business. Baccigalupi also repeatedly made references to Joan of Arc to Subbe-Hirt and asked for her resignation. The stress affected Subbe-Hirt so greatly that she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder caused by Baccigalupi’s abuse. Subbe-Hirt provided a letter from her doctor regarding her condition. The letter stated that Subbe-Hirt should not be subjected to any undue stress or work. Subbe-Hirt requested that Baccigalupi place the letter in her personnel file. Baccigalupi refused, stating that he did not see the letter and never wanted to see it again. Ultimately, Subbe-Hirt blacked out while driving home from work one day and crashed her car into the back of a tractor-trailer. Subbe-Hirt was hospitalized for eight days and forced to take temporary disability leave. She remained totally disabled due to post-traumatic stress disorder. Subbe-Hirt brought an action for intentional infliction of emotional distress against Prudential and Baccigalupi. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Prudential and Baccigalupi. Subbe-Hirt appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Nygaard, J.)
Dissent (Cowen, J.)
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