Why don't people sue prank shows?

Take a show like Scare Tactics…it seems to be a pretty clear case of intentional infliction of emotional distress. Why don’t people sue? Is it all staged? Do people get paid to get them to song a release?

I feel like I should know this but…I don’t.

Actually just found this old thread…

Anyone know the outcome? And why doesn’t it happen more often?

I don’t know the answer to your question, but it seems this Not the Nine O’Clock News parody was ahead of its time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jnt7ShK9sgE.

In general, you cannot recover for purely emotional damages unless you can also show a physical impact, physical manifestations of injury arising out of the incident (or as a consequence of emotional distress), or, sometimes, physically present as a witness to physical harm to certain close relations. There are a couple other odd exceptions (the one that comes to mind is negligence with respect to the corpse of a close relation).

But that generally rule is that you cannot recover for IIED/NIED just by alleging you were really frightened, or really embarrassed, or really outraged without also alleging a physical component.

I know physical manifestations may be required in some (the majority of?) circumstances, but why hasn’t it even been tried more often in the context of shows like Scare Tactics?

Iied seems to be expanding, and exceptions to the personal manifestation rule have been carved out in areas such as employment.

A show like scare tactics pretty clearly meets every single other element of the tort, and I’m not sure physical manifestations would be that hard to prove, even if required (there is bound to be something). Additionally, I’d suspect that the sheer outrageousness of the conduct would cause a court to be more lax on requiring physical manifestation.

And moving beyond iied, it would seem to be a strong case for assault as well.

From this thread and the other one, it appears Scare Tactics is the worst one ever, I hadn’t seen it, and don’t really care to. I do know that one guy was suing Candid Camera, the newer one run by Alan Funt’s son. He had tricked some guy, getting him to lie on the luggage x-ray belt at the airport. The guy sued because he said he was demeaned, AND he felt he couldn’t refuse or argue back with Alan Funt’s son in a TSA uniform. Thing is, all we have on the skit is a grainy black-n-white airport security cam of the incident. If you don’t sign the release, you don’t get the clear image of the prank. It’s just dumb luck that we even have the security cam, in the past it was just you work against theirs.

Random story: My friend and I were “pranked” one time. We were biking around the cities and stopped in downtown Minneapolis at Peavey Plaza and were sitting and talking when a costumed woman comes up and asks if we could watch her baby that was in a stroller. Before we could answer, she takes off leaving the stroller behind. Since the whole scene seemed over the top and fake, we began discussing ways to deliciously prepare the baby. Later it was revealed that we were set up for the US version of Trigger Happy TV. They asked us to sign a release (no compensation) and we did. Never did see if it made to air, but probably not.
As for the Scare Tactic incident. There’s some back and forth on the wiki talk page about it, but it sounds like it was either fake or settled out of court. Shrug.