I SAW HER STANDING THERE
237
line between complete recovery and a barred claim is literally wafer-thin.
The impact rule is ripe for termination. It has strayed from its intended
purpose and has resulted in a confusing landscape of NIED caselaw
.
59
Florida urgently needs an alternative approach. It is therefore time to con-
sider the jurisprudence of other jurisdictions.
California
The state of California has long since moved on from the impact rule. In
Cook v. Maier
, in 1939, its First District Court of Appeals argued that “if
the primal cause of . . . injury is tortious, it is immaterial whether it is direct,
as by a blow, or indirect through some action upon the mind.”
60
Begin-
ning in 1968, the California Supreme Court decided to treat pure emotional
loss cases like other torts, reasoning that “[i]n order to limit the otherwise
potentially infinite liability . . . the law of torts holds defendant amenable
only for injuries to others which to defendant at the time were reasonably
foreseeable.
61
The Court revisited this idea in 1989 and delineated a more
stringent set of guidelines in determining to what potential plaintiffs a defen-
dant may owe a duty
.
62
Looking at how California has attempted to move
past the impact rule can aid the state of Florida in establishing a more
predictable and workable model for pure emotional distress cases.
In
Dillon v. Legg
, a mother and daughter witnessed the other daugh-
ter’s being struck by the defendant’s negligently driven car. The plaintiffs
59
Willis v. Gami Golden Glades, L.L.C.
,
(Cantero, J.
dissenting).
60
.
61
Dillon v. Legg
,
.
62
Thing v. La Chusa
,
.
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