Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas

Boyle’s friends set up a video camera to tape him having sex with Kerr. Boyle then showed the tape to several people, and the video became the subject of gossip. Is negligent infliction of emotional distress a recognized cause of action in Texas?

To answer this question, take into account that there is no general duty not to negligently inflict emotional distress. Negligent infliction of emotional distress is too broad and would allow people to sue based merely on insensitive or rude behavior. While there are some negligence causes of action that allow recovery of mental anguish damages, mental anguish alone is not a cause of action. Therefore, a plaintiff may only recover mental anguish damages in connection with a tort recognized by the courts. At trial, Kerr dropped all causes of action except for negligent infliction of emotional distress. The jury found in her favor against Boyles and his friends.