The tort of intentional infliction of mental distress is not a novel claim. It is not new law. The claim was first recognized in 1897 in Wilkinson v. Downton,  2 Q.B. 57 when as a mischievous joke, the defendant falsely told the plaintiff that her husband had been seriously injured in an accident and had broken both legs. The news so disturbed the plaintiff that she suffered nervous shock and permanent physical injuries. The defendant was found liable in tort.
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