eNotes: Liability – April 2022 – Maryland
April 01, 2022
SIGNIFICANT CASE SUMMARY
MD CASE SUMMARY
Ross v. Chopra
United States District Court for the District of Maryland
2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 248013
Decided: December 28, 2021
District Court for the District of Maryland holds that Plaintiff who did not designate an expert to testify to the cause of her emotional distress may not recover emotional distress damages.
Plaintiff sued a former co-worker for assault and battery and her former employer under Title VII for employment discrimination. Under the assault and battery count against Defendant Co-Worker, Plaintiff sought actual damages, compensatory damages, punitive damages and emotional distress damages. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant Employer did not respond to her reports of Defendant Co-Worker’s behavior, placed her on administrative leave, and fired her as a result of her complaints.
Defendant Co-Worker and Defendant Employer filed Motions for summary judgment. Defendant Co-Worker, as one of his grounds for summary judgment, argued that Plaintiff could not collect noneconomic damages for emotional distress as a matter of law, because Plaintiff did not designate an expert witness to testify regarding the causal connection between the alleged assault and battery and her alleged emotional distress
The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland granted the Defendant Co-Worker’s Motion for summary judgment with respect to Plaintiff’s claimed emotional distress. The Court agreed with Defendant Co-Worker that Plaintiff could not recover emotional distress damages, because she failed to designate an expert witness to testify regarding the causal connection between the alleged assault and battery and her alleged emotional distress. The Court reasoned that causes of emotional disturbances are complicated medical questions, proof of which requires expert testimony. The Court noted that the existence of other contemporaneous turmoil in Plaintiff’s life, including marital issues, further rendered the cause of any alleged emotional distress a complicated medical question requiring expert testimony.
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