David P. Hoult v. Jennifer Hoult

157 F.3d 29 (1st Cir. 1998)


In July 1988, when she was 27 years old, Jennifer Hoult (D) brought suit in the district court against her father, David Hoult (P), alleging assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and breach of fiduciary duty. To support these claims, she alleged that her father had sexually abused, raped and threatened her from the time that she was about four years old until she was about sixteen years old. D used repressed memory to overcome the statute of limitations. The claim of repressed memory was supported at trial by testimony from a psychiatrist, Dr. Renee Brandt, who appeared as an expert witness on repression caused by traumatic abuse. At trial D testified at length, giving detailed descriptions of extensive alleged abuse by her father; in addition to other forms of abuse, she testified to five specific episodes of rape. Supporting testimony was provided by her former therapist and by Dr. Brandt. P testified on his own behalf, flatly denying the allegations, but presented no other witnesses. D got the verdict and damages in the amount of $500,000. This verdict was preceded by a separate finding by the jury accepting the statute of limitations defense; in effect, the jury found that D had repressed memory of the abuse until it was rediscovered within the limitations period. P appealed both from the judgment against him and the denial of a motion for a new trial, but both appeals were ultimately dismissed for lack of prosecution. D wrote letters to several professional associations in which she repeated the charge that her father had raped her. P then brought the present action in the district court against D, claiming that her charge of rape against him was defamatory. D moved to dismiss on the ground that the jury verdict in her earlier assault action had determined that P had raped her and that P was barred by collateral estoppel from relitigating this finding. Eventually, the district court allowed D's motion to dismiss the action based on her summation of what was determined in the last trial. P now appeals.