I SAW HER STANDING THERE
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
Florida urgently needs an alternative approach. It is therefore time to con-
sider the jurisprudence of other jurisdictions.
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.”
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
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
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.
Dillon v. Legg
, a mother and daughter witnessed the other daugh-
ter’s being struck by the defendant’s negligently driven car. The plaintiffs
Willis v. Gami Golden Glades, L.L.C.
Dillon v. Legg
Thing v. La Chusa