Appeals from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (CA6443-00) (Hon. Stephanie Duncan-Peters, Motions Judge)
Before Schwelb, Farrell, and Reid, Associate Judges.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Schwelb, Associate Judge
Concurring opinion by Associate Judge Reid at p. 7.
Dissenting opinion by Associate Judge Farrell at p. 7.
On August 31, 2000, Shoukoufeh Larijani, a former employee of Georgetown University who worked at the library at the University's Medical Center, brought this action against her supervisor, Jane L. Blumenthal, and against the University, alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Super. Ct. Civ. R. 12 (b)(6), claiming that the complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. On October 30, 2000, the motions judge granted the defendants' motion to dismiss, and on December 19, 2000, she denied Ms. Larijani's motion for reconsideration. Ms. Larijani appeals from both orders. We reverse the order of October 30, 2000, and dismiss as moot the appeal from the order denying reconsideration.
The principal allegations of the complaint have been summarized with reasonable accuracy in Ms. Larijani's brief:
Defendant Jane L. Blumenthal obtained two white colored, rectangular shaped, electrical devices, each approximately a foot in length, which, when activated, emitted a loud, static-sounding, piercing, humming and droning noise. Defendant Jane L. Blumenthal placed these two noise making devices immediately outside [Ms. Blumenthal's] office door, facing the plaintiff and within ten feet of plaintiff. (Complaint, ¶ 7-9)
Beginning in or about December 1997 and continuing through September 1998, defendant Jane L. Blumenthal activated these noise making devices so that they emitted their loud, static-sounding, piercing, humming and droning noise for every minute of every work day. Beginning in or about December 1997 and continuing through September 1998, plaintiff was forced to hear and to endure the loud, static-sounding, piercing, humming and droning noise of these noise making devices for every hour of every work day. (Id., ¶ 10, 11)
As a direct and proximate result of the above- described acts of defendants, plaintiff Shoukoufeh Larijani was caused to suffer severe and permanent injuries to mind and body including, but not limited to, severe headaches, chills, nausea, vomiting, a swollen eye, involuntary body tremors, nightmares, cold sweats, hysteria, tension, muscular pain, shoulder pain, backaches, hyperventilation, fear, anger, depression, loss of appetite, loss of sleep, anxiety, stress, humiliation, indignity, disgrace, a traumatized psyche, and extreme emotional distress. She was caused to undergo medical treatment for her physical and emotional injuries. (Id., ¶ 20)
Plaintiff repeatedly requested and begged defendant Jane L. Blumenthal to turn the noise makers off, informing defendant Blumenthal that the constant noise was causing her severe injuries, as set forth above. Defendant Blumenthal refused to turn the noise makers off. When the plaintiff's repeated requests to turn off the noise makers were rejected by defendant Jane L. Blumenthal, plaintiff, seeking relief, contacted several managerial level agents of Georgetown University, including the managerial level agents in its Department of Human Relations, and informed defendant Georgetown University of the constant activation of the noise makers and the severe ill effects the constant noise was having upon her. Plaintiff requested that defendant Georgetown University take action to terminate the activation of the noise makers. Defendant Georgetown University took no action to terminate the use of the noise makers and thereby ratified and approved of the constant, continuous activation of the noise makers. (Id., ¶ 12-14)
The relentless noise emanating from the two noise makers continued to bombard the plaintiff every day, all day long until September 1998. (Id., ¶ 15)
The complaint thus fairly alleges that the "loud" and "piercing" noise made by these devices throughout the working day for a period of nine months was unbearable for Ms. Larijani, that it had serious deleterious effects upon the plaintiff's health, that the defendants were made aware of Ms. Larijani's physical and emotional ...