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A Lawyer's Perspective on the Wife Who Throws Tantrums

A Lawyer's Perspective on the Wife Who Throws TantrumsI haven’t gone a single day over the past four or five days without seeing the video about the wife who throws tantrums to her husband while she’s riding in his truck.  The wife throws the tantrum while her husband secretly records the moment with his phone while his phone is hidden in his lap.

This video has been spoken about and written about all over the place.  I’ve seen news commentators debating the video on the news.  I’ve read comments about the video circulating Facebook and Twitter.  I’ve even seen the video and read comments on sports message boards.  Needless to say, the topic has probably been covered enough.

So why am I writing about this video that has had way too much coverage already?  Because of all the comments I’ve read about the video, I haven’t read any about possible legal ramifications of posting such a video to YouTube.com.

If my wife had the propensity to throw tantrums like the woman in the YouTube video, I would first wonder what kind of a jerk I was to cause her to throw tantrums, and if I truly believed I had nothing to do with the tantrum throwing I would start working on a solution.  At no point would I wonder if I should secretly record her throwing a tantrum and then post it to YouTube so I could humiliate her to the whole world.

The key part of that phrase is to “humiliate her to the whole world.”  There’s no question this giant D-bag of a husband was trying to humiliate his wife.  He wanted to cause her as much embarrassment and hurt as he possibly could.  The problem with such actions is that, depending on the state, they can be seen as intentional infliction of emotional distress.  In the legal world we generally refer to intentional infliction of emotional distress as an intentional tort, and it is actionable in court.

Indiana has long recognized intentional infliction of emotional distress as being extreme or outrageous conduct by one to intentionally or recklessly cause severe emotional distress.  Cullison v. Medley, 570 N.E.2d 27, 31 (Ind. 1991).  I haven’t done any research on this aspect of the tort because I’ve never had to, but I could certainly make the argument that secretly recording a moment that is supposed to be private between two spouses and then posting that embarrassing moment for the whole world to see is extreme and outrageous conduct.  And it would be ludicrous to believe the husband didn’t think the video would go viral.  He knew that posting that video was going to cause emotional distress to his wife–that’s why he did it.  The argument can be made that the requirements to prove intentional infliction of emotional distress have been met and that the husband could be liable to the wife for his actions.

I’ve always wondered what goes through people’s minds when they do stuff like what this husband did.  Do they really not consider the possible consequences of their actions?

I guess there was one good thing that came from the whole incident–this woman can now get out of an emotionally abusive marriage.

Photo Credit: Flickr

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