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Maness v. Gordon

Supreme Court of Alaska

March 21, 2014

BRET F. MANESS, Appellant,
v.
MIKE GORDON, WILLIAM MILLER, SHELLEY (DOE) GORDON, JOHN DOE, FRED POTTS, MARK KOLSTAD, ARVID AB.J.@ BJORTON, MICHAEL JUSTICE, JAMES SERFLING, TERRENCE STAHLMAN, ROBERT PIPKIN, SR., JUDITH RAE MANESS, Appellees

Page 523

Appeal from the Superior Court of the State of Alaska, Third Judicial District, Anchorage, John Suddock, Judge. Superior Court No. 3AN-07-11407 CI.

Bret F. Maness, Pro se, Anchorage, Appellant.

Kevin T. Fitzgerald, Ingaldson Fitzgerald, P.C., Anchorage, for Appellees Gordon and Gordon.

Howard S. Trickey, Jermain Dunnagan & Owens, P.C., Anchorage, for Appellee Serfling.

Before: Winfree, Stowers, and Bolger, Justices. [Fabe, Chief Justice, and Maassen, Justice, not participating.].

OPINION

Page 524

BOLGER, Justice.

I. INTRODUCTION

Bret Maness sued for assault and battery, sexual assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and false imprisonment, based on incidents alleged to have occurred in the 1970s. The superior court concluded that Maness's claims are barred by the statute of limitations. In this appeal, Maness argues that the discovery rule tolled the statute of limitations because he provided an affidavit stating that he suffered from repressed memory syndrome and has only recently recovered memories of these assaults. But we agree with the superior court's conclusion that expert testimony is necessary to support a claim based on repressed memory syndrome and affirm the grant of summary judgment.

II. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS

Bret Maness alleges that the defendants committed a series of sexual assaults against him in the 1970s, when he was still a child. He further alleges that, although the defendants used a combination of date rape drugs and hypnosis to cause him to forget these incidents, he recovered memories of the assaults shortly before filing his complaint.

Maness filed a complaint in the Anchorage superior court on October 30, 2007, seeking " general and special" damages for " intentional and/or negligent torts" and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Defendants James Serfling, Michael Gordon, and Shelley Gordon deny all of his allegations.[1]

Serfling and the Gordons moved for summary judgment on the ground that Maness's claims are barred by the statute of limitations. Maness opposed their motions, arguing that, because he recovered repressed memories of the sexual assaults less than a year before filing his complaint, the discovery rule applies, and his claims are not time-barred. To rebut Maness's argument, Serfling produced an affidavit from expert witness Dr. Charles J. Brainerd, a developmental and experimental psychologist. Dr. ...


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