Undertakings and Special Relationships in Claims for Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress

Courts impose a number of barriers to recovery for negligently inflicted emotional harm. Whether or not these barriers are justified in suits between strangers, this essay argues that they are inappropriate both when the defendant has a special relationship to the plaintiff and when the defendant has undertaken a duty of care that implicates the plaintiff’s emotional well-being. The essay also considers whether the defendant should be permitted to contract out of the responsibility.