• May 29, 2010

As covered previously by Minnesota Litigator, Mary Lickteig brought a complaint in 2007 against her brother in which she alleged that in 2005 she recovered repressed memories of sexual abuse in the 1970’s.

Sr. U.S. District Judge Paul A. Magnuson threw the case out in July of 2008, holding that Minnesota provided Ms. Lickteig with no cause of action.   That decision was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit which, in turn, certified questions to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

This week the Court ruled that Ms. Lickteig does have a cause of action under Minnesota law, that there is no intrafamilial immunity barring such a claim, and that the “delayed discovery statute” applies retroactively so, for now, the claim is not barred by the statute of limitations.  

In dealing with the issue of intrafamilial sexual abuse, the Court takes on a heavy topic but the Court avoided perhaps the most controversial part of the case:  the validity of the entire notion of “repressed” or “recovered” memory.  “We address a question of law — whether the delayed discovery statute is retroactive — not a question of fact relating to the credibility of Lickteig’s claim that she repressed memory of the abuse.”

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