United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
ROBERT BLAKEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Court began a jury trial in the subject case on January 23,
2017. At the beginning of trial, five causes of action
against eight individual Defendants remained from
Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint :
Cause of Action
Relevant Named Defendant(s)
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
1. John Combs
2. Anthony Egan
Retaliation Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
1. Catherine Larry
2. Susan Wilson
Excessive Force Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
1. Kenneth Nushardt
Failure to Protect Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1. David Gomez
2. Michael Lemke
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
1. Jenny McGarvey
2. Catherine Larry
3. Susan Wilson
January 25, 2017, at the conclusion of Plaintiff's
case-in-chief, all Defendants moved for judgment as a matter
of law pursuant Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50(a). After
considering the parties' written submissions , 
and oral arguments, the Court orally granted in part and
denied in part the Defendants' motions. Specifically, the
Court granted Defendants' motions as to Plaintiff's
intentional infliction of emotional distress
(“IEED”) claims (Counts I and VIII), but denied
Defendants' motions as to Plaintiff's retaliation,
excessive force, and failure to protect claims under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 (Counts IV, VI, and VII). At the
conclusion of trial, the jury rejected Plaintiff's claims
and returned a verdict in favor of all remaining Defendants
on each of Plaintiff's three remaining causes of action.
Memorandum Opinion supplements the Court's oral ruling.
The jury's verdict on Plaintiff's retaliation,
excessive force, and failure to protect claims (Counts IV,
VI, and VII) rendered the Court's denial of
Defendants' motions as to those claims moot. Therefore,
they will not be further discussed. The below analysis
explains the Court's rationale for granting
Defendants' motions as to Plaintiff's IEED claims
(Counts I and VIII).
should render judgment as a matter of law when “a party
has been fully heard on an issue” and there is no
“legally sufficient evidentiary basis” for a
reasonable jury to find for that party on that issue.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(a). The standard for granting judgment as a
matter of law “mirrors the standard for granting
summary judgment.” Pandya v. Edward Hosp., 1
F. App'x 543, 545 (7th Cir. 2001) (internal quotations
omitted). Thus, the Court examines the record in its entirety
and views the evidence in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party. Id. After doing so, the Court
determines “whether the evidence presented, combined
with all reasonable inferences permissibly drawn therefrom,
is sufficient to support [a] verdict.” Mathur v.
Bd. of Trustees of S. Illinois Univ., 207 F.3d 938, 941
(7th Cir. 2000) (quotations omitted). Judgment as a matter of
law is proper “if a reasonable person could not find
that the evidence supports a decision for a party on each
essential element of the case.” Campbell v.
Peters, 256 F.3d 695, 699 (7th Cir. 2001).
making this determination, the Court “may not step in
and substitute its view of the contested evidence for the
jury's.” Emmel v. Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of
Chicago, 95 F.3d 627, 634 (7th Cir. 1996).
“Credibility determinations, the weighing of the
evidence, and the drawing of legitimate inferences from the
facts are jury functions, not those of a judge.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255
(1986). Nevertheless, “there must be more than a mere
scintilla of evidence” in support of the nonmoving
party's case. Estate of Escobedo v. Martin, 702
F.3d 388, 403 (7th Cir. 2012). Thus, judgment should be
entered where the evidence “is so one-sided that one
party must prevail as a matter of law.”
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-52.
establish an intentional infliction of emotional distress
claim under Illinois law, Plaintiff was required to introduce
sufficient evidence that: (1) the defendant's conduct was
extreme and outrageous; (2) the defendant intended to inflict
severe emotional distress or knew that there was at least a
high probability that his conduct would inflict severe
emotional distress; and (3) the defendant's conduct did
cause severe emotional distress. Naeem v. McKesson Drug
Co., 444 F.3d 593, 605 (7th Cir. 2006).
Extreme and Outrageous Conduct
standard for extreme and outrageous conduct is high. It is
not enough that the defendant act “with an intent which
is tortious or even criminal, or that he intend to inflict
emotional distress, or even that his conduct be characterized
by ‘malice, ' or a degree of aggravation which
would entitle the plaintiff to punitive damages for another
tort.” Cook v. Winfrey, 141 F.3d 322, 331 (7th
Cir. 1998); Restatement (Second) of Torts § 46 cmt. d
(1965). Extreme and outrageous conduct “does not extend
to mere insults, indignities, threats, annoyances, petty
oppressions, or other trivialities.” Honaker v.
Smith, 256 F.3d 477, 490 (7th Cir. 2001). Rather,
extreme and outrageous conduct exists only where the conduct
“has been so outrageous in character, and so extreme in
degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and
to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a
civilized community.” Bergstrom v. McSweeney,
294 F.Supp.2d 961, 969 (N.D. Ill. 2003). Generally, the case
is one in which “the recitation of the facts to an
average member of the community would arouse his resentment
against the actor, and lead him to exclaim:
‘Outrageous!'” Lewis v. Sch. Dist.
#70, 523 F.3d 730, 747 (7th Cir. 2008) (ellipses
Supreme Court of Illinois has promulgated a number of
non-exclusive factors that help inform this analysis. See
McGrath v. Fahey, 533 N.E.2d 806, 809 (Ill. 1988).
First, “the degree of power or authority which a
defendant has over a plaintiff” can impact whether that
defendant's conduct is outrageous. Honaker, 256
F.3d at 490 (quoting McGrath, 533 N.E.2d at 809).
The “more control which a defendant has over the
plaintiff, the more likely that defendant's conduct will
be deemed outrageous, particularly when the alleged conduct
involves either a veiled or explicit threat to exercise such
authority or power to plaintiff's detriment.”
Id. at 491. Another factor is whether the defendant
“reasonably believed that his objective was
legitimate.” Id. Greater latitude is given to
a defendant “pursuing a reasonable objective even if
that pursuit results in some amount of distress for a
plaintiff.” Id. A final consideration is
whether the plaintiff “is particularly susceptible to
emotional distress because of some physical or mental
condition or peculiarity.” Id. Behavior
“that otherwise might be considered merely rude,
abrasive or inconsiderate may be deemed outrageous if the
defendant knows that the plaintiff is particularly
susceptible to emotional turmoil.” Id.
determining whether conduct is extreme and outrageous, courts
use an objective standard based upon all the facts and
circumstances of a particular case. Cobige v. City of
Chicago, No. 06-cv-3807, 2009 WL 2413798, at *13 (N.D.
Ill. Aug. 6, 2009). Conduct “does not exist in a vacuum
and must be viewed in its pertinent context.” ...