SUK C. KIM, Appellant/Cross-Appellee,
JUNG HYUN CHANG, Appellee/Cross-Appellant.
FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF
from the Circuit Court for Hillsborough County; William P.
Levens, Senior Judge and Robert A. Foster, Jr., Judge.
H. Howard and Mark S. Howard of Mark S. Howard, P.A., Tampa
(withdrew after briefing); Daniel A. Nicholas of Litchfield
Cavo LLP, Tampa (substituted as counsel of record), for
P. Rush of Woodlief & Rush, P.A., Tampa, for
appeals from a final judgment that, among other things,
awarded Jung Chang $15, 000 on a counterclaim for battery and
$165, 000 on a counterclaim for intentional infliction of
emotional distress. Ms. Chang cross-appeals the same judgment
insofar as it denied her both a recovery on a counterclaim
for breach of an oral loan agreement with Mr. Kim and an
award of punitive damages. Because Ms. Chang failed to
introduce legally sufficient evidence that she suffered
severe emotional distress, we reverse the judgment entered
against Mr. Kim on the intentional infliction counterclaim.
As to Mr. Kim's appeal on the battery counterclaim and
Ms. Chang's cross-appeal, we affirm the judgment without
evidence taken in the light most favorable to the judgment
reflects the following. Born in South Korea, Ms. Chang moved
to the United States in 1999. Her sister, Sook Chang, was
married to Mr. Kim and lived in Tampa. Mr. Kim and Sook Chang
had a grocery store on Hillsborough Avenue. Ms. Chang and her
son moved in with Mr. Kim and Sook Chang, and Ms. Chang
worked at the store. Mr. Kim and Sook Chang adopted Ms.
Chang's son so that he could remain in the United States
2001, Ms. Chang agreed to lend Mr. Kim money for repairs and
improvements to the grocery store. Like many deals between
family members, this one was not clearly spelled out. For
example, Mr. Kim and Ms. Chang did not agree on a specific
interest rate or time for repayment but seem to have
understood that interest would accrue at the "commercial
bank rate" and that Mr. Kim planned to repay the loan
when he obtained a new loan from an actual bank. All in all,
Ms. Chang advanced $164, 050 to Mr. Kim, which came from the
proceeds of a life insurance policy that were paid to Ms.
Chang when her husband died. There is no question that Mr.
Kim used the money to make improvements to his store.
February 2002, Mr. Kim got a bank loan from the Bank of
Tampa. Ms. Chang did not then demand repayment of the loan.
This may have been because Ms. Chang was concerned about
making demands of Mr. Kim before she had become a legal
permanent resident of the United States. In September 2007,
Ms. Chang asked Mr. Kim why he had not repaid the loan and
whether he then had the money to repay it with interest. Ms.
Chang says that as a result, she and Mr. Kim orally agreed to
extend the due date of the note; Mr. Kim denies it.
2008, Ms. Chang tried to get Mr. Kim to repay the loan, which
he declined to do. In addition, Ms. Chang says that while she
was working in the kitchen at Mr. Kim's home, Mr. Kim
approached her, "groped her," and pressed his body
against hers. Two months later, Ms. Chang and her son moved
out of Mr. Kim's home and into an apartment. Mr. Kim
cosigned the papers necessary for her to get the apartment
and gave her furniture for it. In 2009, Ms. Chang, Mr. Kim,
and Sook Chang entered into a contract whereby Mr. Kim and
Sook Chang bought a home that Ms. Chang and her son moved
into and gave Ms. Chang the option to buy the property before
2012, after an extended visit to South Korea, Ms. Chang moved
back in with Mr. Kim and Sook Chang. Shortly thereafter, Ms.
Chang and Mr. Kim had an argument. Ms. Chang demanded that
Mr. Kim pay back the $164, 050. Tempers flared. Mr. Kim said
he would never pay Ms. Chang back. Mr. Kim pushed Ms. Chang
down three stairs and when she attempted to get up pushed her
down again. Mr. Kim called the police to evict her without
giving her time to collect her belongings. He told the police
that Ms. Chang should be arrested and deported to Korea. Ms.
Chang suffered pain and a bruise to her leg. Shortly