Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress: In December 2015, Lilly Carlson passed away five month

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress: In December 2015, Lilly Carlson passed away five months after her husband in Waverly, Iowa. A hospice nurse contacted the Nelson Funeral Home to come pick up and “prepare” the body. Nelson Funeral Home picked up the body and embalmed Lilly’s remains. In the years prior to this, Lilly had visited Nelsons and informed them that she and her husband did NOT want to be embalmed. (Her husband had not been embalmed five months earlier.) Within months of Lilly’s death, one of Lilly’s sons, Dan, had also visited Nelsons to confirm that his mom did NOT want to be embalmed.

When Lilly’s six children learned that their mother had been embalmed against her wishes, they were distraught and extremely upset. (One daughter, Patricia, fainted and fell when she saw her mom’s body. She bumped her head.) Four of the children were so upset that they sought help from medical professionals and received anti-depressant prescriptions to alleviate their symptoms (sleeplessness, anxiety, depression). Lilly’s children filed a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress against Nelson Funeral Home, asserting that the wrongful embalming of their mom caused them to suffer severe emotional distress. Element of the claim are: 1) outrageous conduct by the defendants; 2) defendant intentionally caused, or recklessly disregarded the probability of causing, emotional distress; 3) the plaintiff suffered severe or extreme emotional distress; and 4) the defendant’s conduct was an actual and proximate cause of the emotional distress. After conducting discovery, Nelson’s moved for summary judgment and dismissal of the Carlson children’s claim.

Business response? Ethical response?

Legal arguments for Lillie’s children?

Legal arguments for Nelson Funeral Home?

Please read the case answer the questions.

 

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