MARBURY, J., delivered the opinion of the Court.
This appeal is from an order of the Circuit Court for Prince George's County, where Judge Bowie sustained the defendants-appellees' demurrers to counts one and three of the plaintiff-appellant's amended declaration. As observed by the trial court, the issue was "whether or not damages are recoverable for death resulting from mental distress over negligent damage to one's real property under the circumstances set forth in the Amended Declaration." We agree with the lower court that the demurrers should have been sustained and that counts one and three of the plaintiff's amended declaration did not state a cause of action.
The property of the plaintiff, Virginia Ruth Zeigler, and of her deceased husband, Ernest T. Zeigler, at 3315 Naylor Road, Silver Hill, Maryland, is located at the bottom of a slope, the upper portion of which was owned in 1963 by P.M. & T., Incorporated. In the summer of that year P.M. & T., Incorporated cleared the slope behind the plaintiff's house, which resulted in an increased flow of water onto the plaintiff's property, necessitating the installation of a sump pump in their
Although originally the amended declaration alleged wantonness, wilfull trespass, and gross negligence, it was further amended during the course of the hearing on the demurrers so as to specify that the wrongful death action was based on negligence and not on an intentional tort.
In sustaining the defendants' demurrers the trial court relied on State, Use of Aronoff et al. v. Baltimore Transit Co., 197 Md. 528, 80 A.2d 13, 28 A.L.R.2d 1062. There, the plaintiff's decedent saw a street car negligently collide with his truck which was loaded with glass and in the confusion and excitement following the collision the decedent suffered a heart attack from which he died within the hour. No damages were recoverable for the decedent's death since this was not such a result that "in the ordinary and natural course of events ought in the light of all the circumstances to have been contemplated as a natural and probable consequence thereof." Owens v. Simons, 245 Md. 404, 226 A.2d 548. Cf. Resavage v. Davies, 199 Md. 479, 86 A.2d 879; accord, United States v. Hatahley, 257 F.2d 920 (10th Cir.1958). The present case is analogous to Aronoff.
Under Maryland law it is not necessary that there be physical impact for a plaintiff to recover for mental suffering and emotional distress. Industrial Service Co. v. State, 176 Md. 625,
Nowhere does the plaintiff allege that the defendants had been warned that their acts were causing the decedent mental distress. Nor does she allege that the defendants' acts were calculated to cause such mental distress or that the personal safety of the decedent was in jeopardy. These allegations were necessary as a matter of law for there to be recovery for the death of the decedent.
As the appellees had no notice that their acts were causing the decedent emotional distress we hold that the trial judge was correct in deciding that the decedent's death was not a foreseeable consequence of the negligent acts of the defendants causing damage to the plaintiff's property and that the defendants' demurrers were correctly sustained.
Order affirmed, costs to be paid by appellant.