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Clark v Canada (1994), 20 CCLT (2d) 241 (FCTD)


Clark (P) was a female RCMP officer who was harassed by male co-workers. Her RCMP superiors failed to come to her aid. P claimed that this caused her severe distress and depression, resulting in her resignation.

Defendant's argument:
** the court has no power to interfere with RCMP matters;
** to recover, the nervous shock must be a recognizable psychiatric condition.


Can the plaintiff recover for nervous shock caused by harassment from male co-workers?


If it is an ongoing process calculated to achieve a certain end, this will be sufficient to meet the requirements for the intentional infliction of nervous shock.


Court noted that a defendant may achieve emotional or mental harm without any physical touching of the plaintiff, and without infringing on P's freedom of movement. It is essential that D cause the harm by his own direct act.

Both extreme conduct and "objective and substantially harmful physical or psychopathological consequences, rather than mere anguish or fright are required for a cause of actions; a basis on which extreme outrage may be found is if D knew that P was especially sensitive or susceptible to injury through mental distress.

Cases will be rare where nervous shock involving physical injury was fully intended. More frequently, the defendant's aim would have been merely to frighten, terrify or alarm his victim. But this is quite sufficient, provided his conduct was of a kind reasonably capable of terrifying a normal person, or was known or ought to have been known to the defendant to be likely to terrify the plaintiff for reasons special to him. Such conduct could be described as reckless

Particular facts/differences in this case:
** Several people involved and were P's superiors;
** It involved both actions and in-actions.


Decision in favour of Clark (in this case. nervous shock is recoverable).

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