Repressed Memory Case: Lemmerman v. Fealk v. Bieske

Full Case Details Here

449 Mich. 56 (1995)534 N.W.2d 695


Docket Nos. 97839, 97841, 98365, (Calendar Nos. 7-8).Supreme Court of Michigan.

Argued January 12, 1995.

Decided July 5, 1995. LEMMERMAN v FEALK

“Plaintiff Marlene Lemmerman alleges that she was sexually and physically abused by her father and aunt for approximately ten years, beginning in 1939, when she was three. Plaintiff asserts that during the period in which these assaults were occurring she attempted to tell her mother about the abuse, but that her mother denied the allegations, took no action to halt the abuse, and on at least one occasion responded by threatening her with a pair of scissors. As a coping mechanism, plaintiff maintains that she developed a second personality who took her place during the abusive episodes. It is alleged that this personality dissociation repressed plaintiff’s active memory of the abuse.”


81 Both plaintiffs allege that because of repressed memory syndrome, they were incapable of remembering the assaults until less than a year before the suits were filed. Therefore, the key question is whether an allegation of repressed memory syndrome would be deemed by the courts sufficient grounds to say that the plaintiff neither knew nor should have known of the claim.


In a case of alleged repressed memory, I would find that the plaintiff has not shown an inability to bring suit. There is no agreement on the viability and reliability of repressed memory syndrome within the American Medical Association or the American Psychiatric Association.[*] While I recognize 82*82 that childhood sexual abuse is a tragically common occurrence, in the absence of a consensus on this still-evolving theory from the appropriate medical experts, I feel it would be unwise and premature to recognize the repressed memory syndrome as a basis for applying the discovery rule.

RILEY, J., concurred with WEAVER, J.

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1 Comment

  1. Georgia

     /  03/09/2014

    “unwise and premature to recognize the repressed memory syndrome as a basis for applying the discovery rule”

    When will all the little men come together and agree that there is no better reason for applying the discovery rule than in the case of repressed memory?!?



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