Question

Swaby, owner of Fire and Ice Heating and Air Conditioning, and Ben, owner of Thermostat Dreams HVAC, are bitter competitors. For years, each business owner has sought to outdo the other through price undercutting and other business practices, and tensions between the two have grown.

 

Ben’s wife and children go on vacation to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, while he stays behind. During this time, Swaby concocts a devious scheme. One night he calls Ben, disguising his voice and identifying himself as the head administrator of the Horry County, South Carolina, Coroner's Office. Swaby tells Ben that his family has been murdered and that he must come to South Carolina to identify the bodies and participate in the investigation of their deaths. Shocked and distraught, Ben drives the six hours to Horry County, South Carolina. Once there, Ben discovers he has been the victim of a very twisted joke.

 

When he returns home, Ben does not feel quite right. He has trouble sleeping, has difficulty concentrating on his job, experiences bouts of anxiety, and often feels despondent. He consults a psychiatrist, who diagnoses Ben with a form of post-traumatic stress disorder.

 

Assuming Ben discovers that Swaby is the perpetrator of the prank, does Ben have an actionable civil claim against Swaby (Yes or no, and why)?

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