The opinion of the court was delivered by: POLITAN
ORIGINAL ON FILE WITH CLERK OF THE COURT
This matter comes before the Court on the motion of defendant Thomas Yanelli for summary judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56, to dismiss the only remaining Count in the Complaint of plaintiff Perry Dattoli for failure to comply with the statute of limitations. For the reasons expressed herein, defendant's motion is DENIED and the Court will conduct a plenary hearing to determine the applicability of the discovery rule to plaintiff's Complaint.
STATEMENT OF FACTS & PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On July 19, 1993, plaintiff filed a Complaint in this Court against defendant asserting numerous causes of action based on defendant's alleged sexual molestation of plaintiff. Plaintiff is defendant's nephew. Plaintiff states that he was sexually abused by defendant for twenty-two years, from the age of eight to thirty. Plaintiff admits that the last act of sexual abuse allegedly took place in 1988.
Plaintiff states that defendant exerted his dominance through mental and physical coercion and duress on  plaintiff in order to force him to engage in the sexual acts . . . ." (First Amended Complaint, Count 1, P 6). As a result of these acts, plaintiff subconsciously repressed and denied the existence and impact of these events until 1992. During a psychological therapy session with Horace H. Hunt, plaintiff first realized that his problems
were related to defendant's conduct.
On August 23, 1995, plaintiff was examined by Dr. Steven S. Simring. The parties submitted supplemental briefs on the issue of the tolling of the statute of limitations as set forth in New Jersey's sexual abuse statute, N.J.S.A. 2A:61B-1(c). Oral argument was heard on November 16, 1995, and I reserved decision.
This case requires the Court to analyze the tolling of the statute of limitations as defined in New Jersey's sexual abuse statute, N.J.S.A. 2A:61B-1. The Court notes that this provision of the statute has not been addressed by any other court. Therefore, this is a case of first impression in both the federal and state court systems.
In a case such as this, when the Court is required to apply state law, the Court is guided by the decisions of the highest court in the state. Erie R.R. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64, 82 L. Ed. 1188, 58 S. Ct. 817 (1938); McKenna v. Pacific Rail Serv., 32 F.3d 820, 825 (3d Cir. 1994). In the absence of a state supreme court decision on point, the Court must examine the appellate court decisions, and predict how the supreme court would decide the issue. Id. at 825; McKenna v. Ortho Pharmaceutical Corp., 622 F.2d 657, 661-62 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 976, 66 L. Ed. 2d 237, 101 S. Ct. 387 (1980).
The sexual abuse statute was enacted by the New Jersey Legislature on September 24, 1992. The legislation was adopted to establish a specific cause of action for sexual abuse. N.J.S.A. 2A:61B-1 Senate Judiciary Committee Statement. Previously, victims of sexual abuse had to frame a cause of action ...