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Wagner v. Church

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

September 22, 2016

GABRIEL WAGNER, Plaintiff,
v.
LAHAINA BAPTIST CHURCH, Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT LAHAINA BAPTIST CHURCH'S MOTION TO DISMISS (ECF NO. 16)

          Helen Gillmor United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Gabriel Wagner filed a Complaint alleging a negligence cause of action against Defendant Lahaina Baptist Church. Plaintiff claims that he was sexually assaulted by one of Defendant's deacons in 1991, during a youth group trip to Texas.

         Defendant has filed a motion to dismiss, asserting that Plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, as Plaintiff's claim is (1) time-barred and (2) does not qualify for an extension of the statute of limitations pursuant to Haw. Rev. Stat. § 657-1.8(b).

         Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 16) is DENIED.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On April 22, 2016, Plaintiff Gabriel Wagner (“Plaintiff”) filed a Complaint. (ECF No. 1).

         On July 18, 2016, Defendant Lahaina Baptist Church (“Defendant”) filed DEFENDANT LAHAINA BAPTIST CHURCH'S MOTION TO DISMISS COMPLAINT FILED 04/22/16 [DKT #1] FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM UPON WHICH RELIEF CAN BE GRANTED PURSUANT TO F.R.C.P. RULE 12(b)(6). (ECF No. 16).

         On August 11, 2016, Plaintiff filed PLAINTIFF'S MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS COMPLAINT. (ECF No. 21).

         On August 29, 2016, Defendant filed DEFENDANT LAHAINA BAPTIST CHURCH'S REPLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF ITS MOTION TO DISMISS COMPLAINT FILED 4/22/16 [DKT #1] FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM UPON WHICH RELIEF CAN BE GRANTED PURSUANT TO F.R.C.P. RULE 12(b)(6) FILED ON 07/18/16 [DKT #16]. (ECF No. 23).

         On September 22, 2016, the Court held a hearing on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 26).

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Gabriel Wagner (“Plaintiff”) claims that when he was approximately 13 years old, he attended youth activities and church services at the Lahaina Baptist Church (“Defendant”). (Complaint at ¶¶ 5-6, ECF No. 1).

         According to Plaintiff, the Defendant organized a youth group trip to Texas in 1991. (Id. at ¶ 6). Plaintiff states that 8-10 boys, including Plaintiff, went on the trip. Plaintiff asserts that the boys were accompanied by three male adults, including head pastor Rudy Zachary (“Zachary”) and church deacon Andrew Demello (“Demello”). (Id. at ¶ 7). According to Plaintiff, Zachary was the Defendant's highest ranking official, and was also the highest ranking official on the trip. (Id. at ¶ 10).

         Plaintiff alleges that the Defendant and Zachary were aware that Demello had previously behaved in an inappropriate and aggressive manner with young boys. Plaintiff indicates that prior to the 1991 trip to Texas, Demello had ...


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