In St Ives, Cambridgeshire, the children at the Christmas grotto with Santa were justifiably traumatized when the normally jolly elf came out, ripped off his beard and screamed at them to “get the f**k out.”
A fire evacuation appeared to set off the Santa after a smoke machine at a “family-friendly rave” in the building set off the fire alarms. Families were leaving as instructed, but Santa seemed to come unglued and began ripping off this costume while “raging” at the children and parents.
One mother said that she was compelled to tell her children he wasn’t the “real Santa. He was an imposter and will be going on the naughty list.” The question is whether such action (including screaming profanities at the children) could result in liability for the negligent or intentional infliction of emotional distress. There can be an intentional infliction of emotional distress if there is a showing of recklessness. The elements are (1) the defendant must act intentionally or recklessly; (2) the defendant’s conduct must be extreme and outrageous; and (3) the conduct must be the cause (4) of severe emotional distress.
What do you think?