Garden Path of Boyles v. Kerr and Twyman v. Twyman: An Outrageous Response to Victims of Sexual Misconduct

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Tex. J. Women & L.


On May 5, 1993, the Texas Supreme Court handed down Boyles v. Kerr, which eliminated negligent infliction of emotional distress as a cognizable cause of action in Texas.1 The Boyles court, despite protests from many women's groups,2 decided that a woman surreptitiously videotaped while engaging in sexual intercourse was not entitled to a remedy based upon non-intentional infliction of emotional distress.3 The court encouraged the plaintiff, however, to bring her claim under the intentional tort scheme. 4 Chief Justice Phillips explained that the court's ruling did not deny relief to the plaintiff, a victim of sexual and emotional abuse, but remanded this particular case for resolution on "other actionable grounds." 5 This rationalization was given in light of the Texas Supreme Court's explicit recognition of the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress in Twyman v. Twyman,6 another sexual exploitation case decided the same day.