TUMAN v. GENESIS ASSOCIATES
935 F.Supp. 1375 (1996)
Kenneth J. TUMAN and Joan E. Tuman
GENESIS ASSOCIATES; Patricia A. Mansmann; and Patricia A. Neuhausel.
Civil Action No. 95-272.
United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania.
April 25, 1996.
Joseph F. Rizzo, Darby, PA, Gary David Ginsberg, Brian P. O'Connor, Law Offices of Gary D. Ginsberg, Mt. Laurel, NJ, for plaintiffs.
Jeffrey R. Lerman, Stephen G. Rhoads, Marianne Bechtle Daniels, Cynthia B. Mac Queen, Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads, Philadelphia, PA, John J. Levy, Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads, Cherry Hill, NJ, Cornelia Farrell Maggio Exton, PA, Stephen Ledva, Jr., Edelstein, Mintzer and Sarowitz, Westmont, NJ, David S. Cohen, Edelstein, Mintzer and Sarowitz, Philadelphia, PA, for defendants.
Jeffrey R. Lerman, Marianne Bechtle Daniels, Cynthia B. MacQueen, Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoades, Philadelphia, PA, John J. Levy, Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoades, Cherry Hill, NJ, for Patricia A. Neuhausel.
PADOVA, District Judge.
Plaintiffs Kenneth J. and Joan E. Tuman instituted this suit against two mental health professionals, Defendants Patricia A. Mansmann and Patricia A. Neuhausel, and their corporate practice, Defendant Genesis Associates, alleging that Defendants breached a contract and committed various tortious acts in treating Plaintiffs' daughter, Diane Tuman, a non-party to this action.1 Presently before the Court are Defendants Neuhausel's and Genesis Associates' motion for summary judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 as to the claims against them, and Defendant
Mansmann's separate motion for summary judgment as to Plaintiffs' claims against her.2 For the reasons discussed below, I will grant in part and deny in part Defendants Neuhausel's and Genesis Associates' motion, and grant Defendant Mansmann's motion.
I. BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit on Sept. 21, 1994, raising state law contract and tort claims. Plaintiffs allege that they entered into a contract with Defendants in 1990 for Defendants to provide mental health therapy to their daughter, Diane Tuman, then 20 years old, to treat Diane for bulimia and other emotional problems. Defendants treated Diane for a two-year period from 1990 to 1992. Plaintiffs further allege that Defendants provided Diane with substandard care and that the treatment methods Defendants employed with Diane deviated from good and accepted practices in the mental health field.3
In summary, Plaintiffs allege the following. Defendants required Plaintiffs to "detach" from Diane for a two-year period, during which time Plaintiffs could not communicate with Diane. During the course of her therapy, Defendants implanted "false memories" in Diane that Plaintiffs sexually assaulted Diane and routinely performed bizarre satanic rituals, including murdering children. Defendants fostered these beliefs in Diane by, for example, stating in group therapy sessions that Diane had been subject to sexual and satanic ritualistic abuse and then urging Diane to identify her abusers. Defendants encouraged Diane to believe these "memories," despite the fact that Defendants never attempted to independently verify them. Plaintiffs claim that Diane's mental condition deteriorated significantly while treating with Defendants. Moreover, Diane, believing that Plaintiffs are dangerous, fled the area, assumed a new identity, and broke off contact with Plaintiffs; as of the filing of this lawsuit, Plaintiffs had not seen or spoken with Diane in more than two years.
Defendants subsequently filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' suit. Applying Pennsylvania law,4 I denied Defendants' motion with respect to all but two of Plaintiffs' causes of action in July 1995. 894 F.Supp. 183 (E.D.Pa.1995).5 The surviving counts of Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint raise claims against all three Defendants for: (1) negligence; (2) breach of contract; (3) defamation; (4) intentional infliction of emotional distress; (5) misrepresentation; and (6) punitive damages. The parties have now completed discovery, and the case is scheduled for trial next month.