John Doe 76C, Appellant,
Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis, Respondent,
Diocese of Winona, Respondent.
Court of Appeals of Minnesota.
Filed June 27, 2011.
Jeffrey R. Anderson, Patrick W. Noaker, Michael G. Finnegan, Jeff Anderson & Associates P.A., St. Paul, Minnesota, for appellant.
Thomas B. Wieser, Jennifer R. Larimore, Meier, Kennedy & Quinn Chtd., St. Paul, Minnesota, for respondent Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Anna Restovich Braun, Bruce K. Piotrowski, Thomas R. Braun, George F. Restovich & Associates, Rochester, Minnesota, for respondent Diocese of Winona.
Bruce Jones, Faegre & Benson LLP, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for amicus curiae Minnesota Religious Council.
Considered and decided by Johnson, Chief Judge; Schellhas, Judge; and Harten, Judge.*
Appellant challenges the district court's summary-judgment ruling that his tort and fraud claims arising out of alleged childhood sexual abuse are time-barred. Because we conclude that there are genuine issues of material fact relating to (1) whether appellant had a disability that tolled the tort limitations period and (2) when appellant's fraud claims accrued, we reverse and remand.
On April 24 and May 9, 2006, appellant John Doe 76C commenced suit against respondents Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and Diocese of Winona, alleging that a priest, whom respondents supervised and controlled, sexually abused him between 1980 and 1982, when he was approximately 13—15 years old. The complaint alleges that respondents knew that the priest had a history of sexual abuse and includes counts of negligence, negligent supervision, negligent retention, vicarious liability, and fraud. The complaint alleges that, as a direct result of the sexual abuse, appellant suffered and will continue to suffer physical, emotional, psychological, and economic damages. The complaint also alleges that appellant did not know or have reason to know about the abuse until July 2002, because he "suffered a traumatic amnesia, or memory repression, of the sexual abuse when he was a child," thus tolling the tort statute of limitations. As the district court explained:
Repressed and recovered memory is the theory that people who experience traumatic events may "repress" memories of [the] events in their entirety, making them unable to remember the event[s]. Years later these repressed memories are then recovered in unchanged form. This phenomenon is often referred to by a variety of names[,] including "repressed memory," "recovered memory," "traumatic amnesia," "dissociative amnesia," or "traumatic dissociative amnesia"[;] however, the underlying theory is the same.