What is the tort of intentional infliction of mental distress?

Ontario, Canada

The following excerpt is from High Parklane Consulting Inc. v. Royal Group Technologies Limited, 2007 CanLII 410 (ON SC):

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, [1987] 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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