A boy and his family are suing a Texas school district and police department after activities that garnered national attention. The lawsuit is alleging multiple claims ranging from civil rights violations to violation of Texas tort law. The lawsuit is based, in part, on the fact that the young man is of middle eastern descent.
The story that made headlines this year involved a boy and his science project. It was reported that the young manbrought a clock invention to school for a science class, but the complicated clock roused concerns. According to reports, the teacher of the class reported to authorities that the boy brought a suspicious looking object that could have been a bomb.
Once a teacher in that school district made allegations about a bomb, authorities at every level got involved. The local police department showed up, took the boy out of class, and began asking questions about the clock. This questioning by police involved taking the boy from school in handcuffs in front of the school.
On the other sided of the coin, the boy garnered national attention from the highest levels. The president of the United States invited the young man to come to the White House for a dinner. Leaders of prominent technology firms offered him a job. Not to be outdone, leading national universities offered the young man enrollment places in their schools once he graduated from high school.
As a culmination of all these events the boy is now suing the school and police department for a total of $15 million. According to the complaint, the boy and his family had to relocate from their home in Texas to one internationally, and that the boy has suffered irreparable harm for the notoriety that the story brought to his life.
Cases such as these are not unfamiliar in Florida. There is a well-known cause of action in Florida tort law for intentional infliction of emotional distress. To plead a successful case of intentional infliction of emotional distress under Florida law a claimant would have to show that the accused action:
Was outrageous and inappropriate;
Was intentional; and,
Caused severe emotional distress.
It is not clear in this case whether the acts by the school and police officer will actually amount to a winning case, but the allegations have been made nonetheless.
Traditionally, these types of cases have been difficult to prove and win. Recently the trend has been that courts are recognizing the importance of ensuring that people do not cause severe emotional damage through outrageous actions.
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