methods. If the limitations period on their contract claim began to run in the spring of 1992, their Sept. 19, 1994 filing was timely.
For these reasons, I will deny Defendants Neuhausel's and Genesis Associates' motion for summary judgment on the breach of contract claim.
C. Defamation Claim
As an initial matter, Defendants assert they are entitled to summary judgment because the alleged statements identified by Plaintiffs in their opposition briefs as the bases for their defamation claims were not alleged with sufficient particularity in the Amended Complaint to put Defendants on notice of the statements against which they would have to defend.
Specifically, Plaintiffs stated in their memorandum opposing the instant motions that their defamation claim arises out of: (1) statements allegedly made by Defendant Neuhausel to the West Whiteland Township Police Department in July 1992, Pls.' Mem. Opp., Ex. K; and (2) a statement allegedly made by Defendant Mansmann to a former Genesis patient named Kathy Kelly in July 1992, see K. Kelly dep. at 55-56. Defendants contend that these alleged statements are not encompassed in Count V of the Amended Complaint. They assert that Amended Complaint solely alleges that Diane made certain defamatory statements and sought to hold Defendants liable for these statements on the theory that Diane was their "mouthpiece," and is devoid of allegations that Defendants themselves made defamatory statements. For this reason, Defendants argue that they are entitled to summary judgment on this claim, citing in support Spain v. Vicente, 315 Pa. Super. 135, 461 A.2d 833, 836 (Pa. Super. 1983) (holding that summary judgment on defamation claim was properly entered for defendants where complaint failed to state with particularity the content of alleged statement and to whom the statement was made).
A federal court sitting in diversity applies the federal rules of civil procedure, even when enforcing the federal rule "alters the mode of enforcing state-created rights." Hanna v. Plumer, 380 U.S. 460, 473, 85 S. Ct. 1136, 1145, 14 L. Ed. 2d 8 (1965). "Therefore, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), and not Pennsylvania law, provides the standard of specificity applicable to plaintiff's defamation claim." GE Capital Mortg. Serv., Inc. v. Pinnacle Mortg. Inv. Corp., 897 F. Supp. 854, 867 (E.D. Pa. 1995) (finding that defamation counterclaim was sufficiently specific under the federal rules where it identified the substance of the defamatory statement, names of two individuals who received it, and department within the plaintiff's corporation where it originated from). "Under Rule 8(a), a defamation plaintiff does not have to plead the precise defamatory statements, nor must she specifically name the person who made the statements. So long as the count provides sufficient notice to defendants, it states a claim." Lynch v. Borough of Ambler, 1995 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3217, No. Civ. A. 94-6401, 1995 WL 113290, at * 5- * 6 (E.D. Pa. March 15, 1995) (finding that allegation that borough council officials announced that plaintiff was fired for violating environmental laws was sufficient to put defendants on notice) (citation omitted).
Applying the liberal pleading requirements contemplated by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, see Leatherman v. Tarrant County Narcotics Intelligence & Coordination Unit, 507 U.S. 163, 113 S. Ct. 1160, 122 L. Ed. 2d 517 (1993), I find that Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint was sufficient to inform Defendant Mansmann that Plaintiffs sought to hold her liable for statements she herself uttered to other Genesis clients in group therapy sessions, such as the one she allegedly uttered to Kathy Kelly. By contrast, I find that even applying the liberal pleading requirements, the Amended Complaint was insufficient to put Defendant Neuhausel on notice that her alleged statements to police were the basis of Plaintiffs' defamation claim against her.
Although most of Count V of the Amended Complaint points to Diane's statements and attributes them to Defendants (see PP 61-62 and 64)
, P 63 states:
63. Defendants themselves made slanderous imputations by stating in group therapy that Daughter was the victim of incest and ritual satanic abuse and then inviting Daughter to state who had done these things at which point Daughter stated that Plaintiffs committed these acts.