United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER FILED UNDER
Lynn Winmill Chief Judge.
before the Court is the LDS Church Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment Against John Doe XII (Dkt. 183) and Motion
to Seal (Dkt. 182). Also pending before the Court is Doe
XII's Motion to Seal (Dkt. 202). Briefing on summary
judgment was completed on June 22, 2017. The Court heard oral
argument on June 27, 2017 and took the matter under
advisement. For the reasons described below, the Court will
deny the Church Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.
The parties' respective Motions to Seal are granted in
part and denied in part.
John Doe XII participated in a Scout troop sponsored by the
Nampa 2nd Ward of the LDS Church. Def. 's Br. at
2, Dkt. 183-1. In 1974, when Doe XII was twelve, his
scoutmaster, Larren Arnold, sexually abused him on two
separate occasions. PL 's Statement of Facts
¶ 4, Dkt. 203-1. In May 2001, Doe XII contacted the
Church Defendants regarding the abuse he suffered as a child,
and asked for recompense. Def. 's Br. at 3, Dkt.
183-1. Doe XII sent a follow-up letter in June, asking for a
response, and at some time later he spoke on the phone with
attorneys for the Church. Id. at 3, 5.
this phone call, Doe XII met in person with an attorney for
the Church, and signed a "Settlement Agreement and
Release of All Claims" (the "Agreement").
Id. at 5. The Agreement contained a clause releasing
the Church Defendants "from any and all past, present or
future claims, whether for direct or for vicarious liability,
for damages for personal and other injuries, and contract
claims, which the Releasor has, or claims to have, for or in
any manner arising out of the abuse he suffered.
WoodardDecl. Ex. G ¶ 2, Dkt. 183-9.
during 2001, Doe XII contacted attorney Tim Kosnoff about the
potential for a lawsuit against the Church Defendants.
See WoodardDecl. Ex. F at 197:22-25, Dkt. 183-8.
Based on his conversation with Mr. Kosnoff, Doe XII believed
his case had "great potential" but knew that Mr.
Kosnoff was concerned there might be an issue with the
statute of limitations. Id. at 225:16-22, 226:19-25.
This conversation happened prior to Doe XII's meeting
with the representative from the Church Defendants, at which
he signed the release. Id. at 227:3-9.
2007, Doe XII was briefly represented by the law firm Chasan
& Walton. Chasan Decl. ¶ 2, Dkt. 203-2. In
July 2009, Chasan & Walton were retained as local counsel
in Tom Doe v. Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a case
which alleged fraud by the Church Defendants in relation to
sexual abuse perpetrated by Larren Arnold. PL 's
Statement of Facts ¶ 11, Dkt. 203-1.
February 2014, Doe XII joined this lawsuit, alleging that the
Church Defendants made fraudulent misrepresentations about
the safety of Scouting, upon which Doe XII relied in deciding
to participate in Boy Scouts. Second Am. Compl.
¶ 101-02, Dkt. 47. Doe XII further alleged that, as a
result of the Church Defendants' constructive fraud, Doe
XII incurred both physical and emotional damages.
Id. ¶ 115.
judgment is appropriate where a party can show that, as to
any claim or defense, "there is no genuine dispute as to
any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). One of the principal
purposes of the summary judgment "is to isolate and
dispose of factually unsupported claims Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986). It is "not a
disfavored procedural shortcut, " but is instead the
"principal tool[ ] by which factually insufficient
claims or defenses [can] be isolated and prevented from going
to trial with the attendant unwarranted consumption of public
and private resources." Id. at 327. "[T]he
mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the
parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported
motion for summary judgment." Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). There must be
a genuine dispute as to any material fact - a fact
"that may affect the outcome of the case."
Id. at 248.
evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party, and the Court must not make credibility
findings. Id. at 255. Direct testimony of the
non-movant must be believed, however implausible. Leslie
v. Grupo ICA, 198 F.3d 1152, 1159 (9th Cir. 1999). On
the other hand, the Court is not required to adopt
unreasonable inferences from circumstantial evidence.
McLaughlin v. Liu, 849 F.2d 1205, 1208 (9th Cir.
moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the
absence of a genuine dispute as to material fact.
Devereaux v. Abbey, 263 F.3d 1070, 1076 (9th Cir.
2001)(en banc). To carry this burden, the moving party need
not introduce any affirmative evidence (such as affidavits or
deposition excerpts) but may simply point out the absence of
evidence to support the nonmoving party's case.
Fairbank v. Wunderman Cato Johnson, 212 F.3d 528,
532 (9th Cir.2000).
shifts the burden to the non-moving party to produce evidence
sufficient to support a jury verdict in her favor.
Deveraux, 263 F.3d at 1076. The non-moving party
must go beyond the pleadings and show "by her [ ]
affidavits, or by the depositions, answers to
interrogatories, or admissions on file" that a genuine
dispute of material fact exists. Celotex, 477 U.S.
Choice of Law
federal district court exercising diversity jurisdiction must
apply the procedural law, including statutes of limitations,
of the forum state. See Erie R.R. Co. v. Tompkins,
304 U.S. 64, 78 (1938); see also Guaranty Trust v.
York, 326 U.S. 99, 110 (1945. In deciding what
substantive law applies, the court must look to the
choice-of-law rules of the forum state. York, 326
U.S. at 110. As Idaho is the forum state, both the statute of
limitations and the choice-of-law rules are governed by Idaho
determine the validity of a contract and the substantive
rights of the parties to the contract, Idaho choice-of-law
rules look first to the law of the state contemplated by the
parties. See Carroll v. MBNA America Bank, 220 P.3d
1080, 1084 (Idaho 2009). So long as the chosen state has a
substantial relationship to the parties or the transaction
and no other state has a more significant relationship and
greater interest in determination of the issues, courts
should apply the law of the chosen state. Id. at
1084-85 (citing Restatement (Second) of Conflict of
Laws §§ 187-88). Per the express language of the
Agreement, the parties selected Utah law to govern the
substance and validity of the contract at issue. See
WoodardDecl. Ex. G ¶ 7, Dkt. 183-9. Moreover, there
is a substantial relationship between Utah law, the parties,
and the agreement, which is not outweighed by any other
state. Doe XII was living in Utah at the time he signed the
Agreement, the offices of the LDS Church Defendants are
located in Utah, and the agreement was signed in Utah.
See Def's Br. at 5 ¶ 15, Dkt. 183-1;
Woodard Decl. Ex. G at 2, Dkt 183-9. Thus, the
validity and scope of the agreement must be analyzed under
Application of the Agreement to Doe XII's ...