Embry v. President & Fellows of Harvard College

No. MICV201301338, 2014 Mass. Super. LEXIS 206, 2014 WL 7778960 (2014)

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Embry v. President & Fellows of Harvard College

Massachusetts Superior Court
No. MICV201301338, 2014 Mass. Super. LEXIS 206, 2014 WL 7778960 (2014)

  • Written by Tammy Boggs, JD

Facts

As alleged in a complaint, between 1969 and 1972, when Stephen Embry was between 12 and 14 years old, Embry was sexually assaulted by Ben Merritt, a swim coach and employee of Harvard College (Harvard) (defendant). The assaults occurred on about 100 occasions on campus, at the pool, in the locker room, and in the showers. Merritt took nude photographs of Embry and other boys and behaved in a way that made other coaches avoid Embry. Embry did not remember the sexual abuse or understand he had been harmed until March 2008, at which time he contacted Harvard’s legal department to notify the college that a former employee had been sexually abusive. In 2010, the legal department responded that it could not corroborate Embry’s claims. In July 2012, Embry sued Harvard, alleging the college’s negligent supervision of Merritt, allowing Merritt to sexually abuse Embry and other young boys. The applicable statute of limitations (§ 4C) was three years. In November 2013, the trial court dismissed Embry’s complaint as untimely and entered judgment accordingly. Embry appealed. While the appeal was pending, in June 2014, the state legislature passed an act that extended the statute of limitations for claims like Embry’s, amending § 4C, and the act contained a retroactivity provision. In August 2014, the appellate court granted Embry leave to file a motion for relief from judgment in the trial court under Massachusetts Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6) (Rule 60(b)(6)). Soon thereafter, Embry filed his Rule 60(b)(6) motion.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Henry, J.)

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