Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress: Facebook Etiquette
INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS
Restatement of Torts, Second, section 46: “One who by extreme and outrageous conduct intentionally or recklessly causes severe emotional distress to another is subject to liability for such emotional distress.”
“Liability has been found only where the conduct has been so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community.”
NEGLIGENT INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS
“Almost all states have adopted the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress, but only a minority of courts have been willing to recognize an independent cause of action for emotional distress alone against defendants who are no more than negligent. (Shapo, Principles of Tort Law, 3d ed., 381)
BY READING THIS COLUMN, YOU HEREBY AGREE TO FORFEIT ALL POSSIBLE CLAIMS AGAINST THE AUTHOR
Introductory Note to First Column
First of all, let me say, it’s good to be back. This is my first piece of journalism written in a student news medium in more than eight years. I have missed the opportunity to make my voice heard, and while there may be plentiful amounts of my own writing at flyinghouses.blogspot.com, that website hardly registers in the national consciousness. This is not to say that The BLS Advocate registers in the national consciousness, but it is at least a resource that other students can use to recognize that they are not alone.
This column is entitled Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress because it may cause that in the reader. To be sure, I have never shied away from writing about controversial topics, and I have often paid the price. I expect to get a fair amount of hate mail after every column I write – but my goal is to inspire thoughtful comments that can start a conversation about reasonable values that we can all share as law students. Given its ubiquity, I felt that Facebook would be the best topic for my inaugural column.
Before there was Facebook, there was Friendster, and before there was Friendster, there was MySpace, and before there was MySpace there was…..nothing? Hardly. Before MySpace there were chat rooms and dating sites – social networking in its infancy…..
I joined Friendster and MySpace sometime in 2003, and I joined Facebook in early 2004. I like to think of myself as something of an “original” member who has held fast through the years and changes.
Law School and Facebook
In law school, you may go to events held by the career services center. They will tell you take anything that is even the least bit questionable off of your Facebook wall, and out of your photos or videos. They will tell you that it is not worth it to risk losing what is probably the most important job search of your life by leaving up some stupid picture of [redacted] funny – yes – but it will automatically disqualify you for consideration for any job – especially one where [redacted]… – you’ve been warned). It is monumentally stupid to allow anything that could potentially result in a reputational compromise to be seen by anyone, especially those in charge of hiring at a firm.
But what if no one actually searches Facebook to spy on your profile? What if they can’t see your profile unless you accept them as a friend? I think most people are aware they can change certain privacy settings to avoid these kinds of situations from happening at all.
Moreover, what if no one wants to search Facebook for your profile? What if you’re not the sharpest tool in the NYC Legal Market and you’re not going to be considered for any jobs, period? Then, what’s the big deal? Is the NYPD or District Attorney’s office going to search your profile, see some picture that [redacted]…? No! Is your goofy younger brother going to think a joke about [redacted] Mario Party is funny? Yes!
[This is an excerpt from the writer's full column, which can be found here: http://flyinghouses.blogspot.
Christopher J. Knorps is a 2L at Brooklyn Law School. He has written two novels, a book of short stories, and a memoir of his 10-month-stint in L.A. None of his creative writings have ever been published in print form. He enjoys studying bankruptcy law. He ranks in the upper 55% of his class. You may find his blog by visiting flyinghouses.blogspot.com. It consists primarily of book reviews, a dozen or so film and music reviews, a few pieces of sports journalism, and a light smattering of “special comments” about the study of law in 2010-2012.