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Whether the tort of negligent infliction of emotional distress applies to same sex couples who are not married, is one for the jury to decide.

October 1, 2018
Moreland v. Parks, 2018 N.J. Super. LEXIS 120

In this case a same-sexed couple had been living together and raising children together for over a year. The non-biological mother witnessed one of the children’s death by automobile when hit as a pedestrian. The non-biological mother made a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED), and the defense argued the tort of NIED requires “a marital or intimate, familial relationship between the plaintiff and the injured person.” Because the plaintiff in this case was not a legal guardian of the child killed, and not married to the biological mother, the defendant argued the “intimate, familial relationship” element was missing. Initially, the defendant won the motion for partial summary judgment dismissing the plaintiff’s bystander NIED claim. On appeal, the court determined that the concept of “family” has evolved in the recent decades and, therefore, this issue is best to be decided by the jury.

 

 

Case Law Alerts, 4th Quarter, October 2018

Case Law Alerts is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. Copyright © 2018 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, all rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm.

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Lisa L. Goldman
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