A Federal Court recently dismissed a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress filed by the decedent’s fiancée where the fiancée used a smartphone application to locate the decedent’s cell phone. The two people had a practice of having the decedent call his fiancée every day when he arrived at work. When he failed to call her on the date of this fatal accident, the fiancée used a smartphone application which revealed the decedent’s phone was at the scene of the fatal crash.
Noting only certain categories of plaintiffs may recover for negligent infliction of emotional distress, and not addressing whether a fiancée has a sufficient family relationship to assert such a claim, Judge Munley of the US District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania, granted the defendants’ 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss plaintiff’s claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress observing that the plaintiff did not witness the accident and only witnessed the aftermath. While her smartphone indicated that the decedent’s automobile was stopped at the crash site, Judge Munley analogized this fact pattern to a plaintiff who received a phone call from a local hospital indicating that her husband had been injured in an automobile accident.