Todd v. Byrd

640 S.E.2d 652 (2006)

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Todd v. Byrd

Georgia Court of Appeals
640 S.E.2d 652 (2006)

KL

Facts

Sylvia Byrd (plaintiff) sued Fred’s Stores of Tennessee (Fred’s Store) (defendant) and two of its employees—Joyce Todd and Phyllis Purcell (defendants)—on behalf of her nine-year-old daughter, Tynesha, for intentional infliction of emotional distress and other claims. While Byrd and Tynesha were shopping at Goodwill, Byrd sent Tynesha to Fred’s Store to use the restroom because the Goodwill restroom was out of order. When Tynesha entered the restroom, the restroom smelled strongly of feces, there were feces on the wall and toilet seat, and there was a pair of bloody underwear and an empty underwear package in the trashcan. Purcell was working near the restroom, smelled the odor, and saw Tynesha exit the restroom. Purcell went into the restroom, observed the scene, and thought that Tynesha may have discarded her own underwear and stolen new underwear from the store. Purcell found Tynesha outside of the store and brought Tynesha to Todd, the store manager. Todd and Purcell spoke kindly to Tynesha but brought Tynesha back into the restroom, accused Tynesha of stealing, showed Tynesha the soiled underwear, and lifted Tynesha’s shirt to inspect the brand of her underwear. Tynesha was not wearing the same brand of underwear as the discarded underwear package, and Tynesha denied responsibility for the mess. Todd told Tynesha to leave the store, and Tynesha left crying. Tynesha returned to Fred’s Store with Byrd, and Byrd yelled, cursed, and threw merchandise. Afterward, Tynesha fainted and cried. Tynesha complained of nightmares after the incident and stated that she was now afraid to go into stores alone. Fred’s Store, Todd, and Purcell filed a motion for summary judgment, and the trial court denied the motion with respect to Byrd’s claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Fred’s Store, Todd, and Purcell appealed to the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Barnes, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Andrews, J.)

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