Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

DATOLLI v. YANELLI

December 11, 1995

PERRY DATOLLI, Plaintiff,
v.
THOMAS YANELLI, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: POLITAN

 ORIGINAL ON FILE WITH CLERK OF THE COURT

 Dear Counsel:

 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 *fn1" were related to defendant's conduct.

 Plaintiff's Complaint asserted causes of action for assault and battery, sexual abuse, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and invasion of privacy. On February 7, 1994, plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint which added a cause of action for fraudulent transfer. Thereafter, defendant made a motion for summary judgment to dismiss plaintiff's First Amended Complaint for failure to comply with the statute of limitations. Oral argument was heard on January 23, 1995. On the same date, the Court dismissed all of the Counts in plaintiff's Complaint except for the allegation of sexual abuse under N.J.S.A. 2A:61B-1. The Court reserved decision on the motion to dismiss that Count pending a psychological examination of plaintiff by a court-appointed therapist.

 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.

 DISCUSSION

 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 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.