In Bass v. Nooney Co., the Supreme Court of Missouri abandoned the rule that a defendant is not liable for negligence which produces emotional distress unless the plaintiff suffers a contemporaneous physical injury or impact. This "impact rule" was the majority position in the United States in the first part of this century and had been a part of Missouri's jurisprudence since 1881. In Bass, however, Missouri joined the mainstream of American jurisprudence by providing judicial protection against a plaintiff's loss of emotional tranquility without requiring contemporaneous physical impact.

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