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.

Dapo v. State

Supreme Court of Alaska

December 13, 2019

Raymond DAPO, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Alaska, Office of Children’s Services and Taun Lucas, Appellees.

Page 172

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 173

          Appeal from the Superior Court of the State of Alaska, Fourth Judicial District, Fairbanks, Michael P. McConahy, Judge. Superior Court No. 4FA-15-01892 CI

         Michael C. Kramer and Robert John, Kramer and Associates, Fairbanks, for Appellant.

         Aisha Tinker Bray, Assistant Attorney General, Fairbanks, and Jahna Lindemuth, Attorney General, Juneau, for Appellee State of Alaska, Office of Children’s Services.

          No appearance by Appellee Taun Lucas.

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

          OPINION

         MAASSEN, Justice.

Page 174

          I. INTRODUCTION

          A young man filed suit against his adoptive mother for sexual abuse that allegedly occurred 13 years earlier, shortly after he was adopted. The adoptive mother filed a third-party claim against the Office of Children’s Services (OCS) for apportionment of fault and assigned the claim to the man in exchange for his agreement to release her from liability.

         The superior court granted OCS’s motion to dismiss the apportionment claim, holding that it was barred by the ten-year statute of repose, AS 09.10.055(a). The man appeals. We hold that the statute of repose applies to the apportionment claim and is not unconstitutional as applied. However, we also decide that there are issues of fact regarding the applicability of two exceptions to the statute of repose: claims for gross negligence and claims for breaches of fiduciary duty. We therefore reverse the superior court’s order dismissing the apportionment claim and remand the case for further proceedings.

          II. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS

          A. Facts

         Raymond Dapo was born in 1990. OCS[1] took custody of him ten years later and, in April 2000, placed him in Taun Lucas’s foster home. Lucas and her husband David legally adopted Dapo in May 2002. According to Dapo, Lucas began sexually abusing him shortly thereafter; Lucas, however, alleged that she was sexually abused by Dapo, and Dapo, then 11 years old, was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree sexual assault. The charges were eventually dropped, and Dapo was returned to the custody of the State as a dependent child.

          B. Proceedings

          Dapo reached the age of majority on September 5, 2008. On May 19, 2015, when he was 24 years old, Dapo filed a complaint against Lucas alleging that she had sexually abused him while he was a minor. In September 2015 Lucas filed a third-party claim against OCS for apportionment of fault, contending that OCS "had a duty to protect" Dapo and "negligently failed to protect" him. A month earlier she assigned to Dapo any rights she might have to recover on the apportionment claim in exchange for a complete release from liability for his sexual abuse claims against her.

         OCS moved to dismiss Lucas’s third-party claim on grounds that it was barred by Alaska’s ten-year statute of repose, AS 09.10.055. The superior court denied the motion. The court concluded that the statute of repose did not apply, incorporating the reasoning of a summary judgment order in an earlier case in which the superior court had held that "[t]he statute of repose, as applied to facts in which the child’s legal custodians are the alleged tortfeasors, is unconstitutional." We subsequently vacated the summary judgment order in that earlier case in a published opinion.[2] We then granted a petition for review on the statute of repose issue in Dapo’s case, vacated the superior court’s order, and remanded the case. Based on our earlier decision, we instructed the superior court to first determine whether the statute of repose applied to Dapo’s claims and only then consider whether the statute was unconstitutional as applied.

          On remand, the superior court held that the statute of repose "applies to and bars the third-party allocation of fault claim against OCS. The statute of repose is also not facially unconstitutional nor unconstitutional as applied to the third-party allocation of fault claim against OCS in this case." The court

Page 175

dismissed all claims against OCS with prejudice. Dapo now ...


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.