The opinion of the court was delivered by: PADOVA
Plaintiff, Brooke Lujan, brings this action against (1) her former psychologist, Patricia A. Mansmann, (2) her former addiction counselor, social worker Patricia A. Neuhausel, and (3) Genesis Associates, the corporation that employs Mansmann and Neuhausel (hereinafter referred to collectively as "Defendants").
Defendants file, for the Court's consideration, motions to dismiss certain claims in Lujan's Amended Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the following reasons, the Court will grant in part and deny in part Defendants' Motions.
Lujan filed her initial Complaint on July 17, 1996 and her Amended Complaint on November 6, 1996. The Amended Complaint alleges the following facts, all of which the Court considers true for the limited purpose of adjudicating Defendants' Motions.
Sometime in July, 1990, Lujan sought treatment from Defendants for perceived emotional problems, including bulimia. Lujan's parents agreed to pay for Lujan's treatment, and Lujan began receiving such care from Defendants. Lujan's parents ultimately paid $ 8,000 for Lujan's therapy. Nonetheless, Defendants breached their duty to provide Lujan with psychological counseling that was within the standard of care of licensed therapists practicing in the Philadelphia area. This breach occurred when Defendants provided advice and counseling that harmed Lujan; was "cult-like in nature;" encouraged Lujan "to believe in certain memories, including memories of satanic abuse, satanic murders, and deviant sexual assaults;" convinced "Lujan to believe she was being stalked by a cult and that her life was in danger;" induced Lujan to undergo plastic surgery "to alter her features so the 'cult' would have a more difficult time finding her;" informed Lujan that she would have to detach herself from her parents and eliminate all communication with them for approximately two years and retain contact only for financial matters; encouraged her to travel away from Pennsylvania; and otherwise fell below the appropriate standard of care. (Am. Compl. PP 11, 15-19, 30-31). Defendants' actions prevented Lujan from completing her course of study at Lebanon College. Defendants also conducted "rage therapy," and, even though as a consequence of such therapy Lujan fell into a catatonic state, Defendants waited several hours before summoning professional medical attention to assist her.
At a July, 1992 meeting, Defendants provided Lujan with a termination letter advising Lujan that Defendants were discontinuing her therapy for two years, until the danger from the cult subsided. (See Am. Compl. PP 20-25).
On December 15, 1995, Lujan received information concerning the lawsuit her parents filed against Defendants. See Tuman v. Genesis Assocs., 935 F. Supp. 1375 (E.D. Pa. 1996). As a result of this information, Lujan discovered the techniques and unethical practices employed by Defendants and, for the first time, understood that Defendants' mind control techniques had harmed her. The news of the lawsuit caused Lujan to question both her memories and the propriety of the treatment Defendants afforded.
"As a result of the negligence of Defendants described hereinabove, [Lujan] has been caused to suffer emotional and mental pain, discomfort and anguish and will continue to suffer [the] same for an indefinite period into the future as well as physical injuries." (Am. Compl. P 32). Furthermore, Lujan "has been unable to properly attend her daily activities, duties and occupations, labors and recreational pursuits and will be unable to do so for an indefinite period of time." (Am. Compl. P 33). The direct and proximate result of Defendants' negligence has been a loss of "earning and/or earning power which has been and will be diminished or lessened." (Am. Compl. P 34). Finally, "because of the emotional trauma, upset, forced re-location, and mental harm caused by the acts and actions of Defendants . . . [Lujan] has suffered a loss of life's pleasures . . . . and claim is made therefore for mental anguish, embarrassment and humiliation." (Am. Compl. P 35).
B. Count II (Breach of Contract)
Defendants "breached their duty under the contract by providing Plaintiff with advice, psychological counseling and/or mental health therapy which was harmful and below the standard of care required." (Am. Compl. P 41). Lujan, "because [of Defendants'] breach of contract, was forced to suffer [emotional trauma, upset, forced relocation, mental harm, a loss of life's pleasures, mental anguish, embarrassment, and humiliation]." (Am. Compl. P 45).
C. Count III (Negligence, Willful, Reckless, and Wanton Misconduct)
D. Count IV (Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress and Negligence)
"As a direct and proximate result of Defendants' aforesaid extreme and outrageous conduct committed intentionally, wantonly, and with reckless disregard to Plaintiff's mental well being, Plaintiff has suffered extreme and debilitating mental anguish and emotional distress and will continue to do so for an indefinite period of time." (Am. Compl. P 55). These actions denied Lujan the "comfort aid companionship and support of her parents." (Am. Compl. P 58). Furthermore, the "negligence of Defendants described hereinabove . . . [has caused Lujan] to suffer emotional and mental pain, discomfort and anguish." (Am. Compl. P 60).
E. Count V (Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress)
"As a direct and proximate result of Defendants' aforesaid extreme and outrageously negligent conduct, and with reckless disregard to Plaintiff's mental well being, [Defendants] caused the Plaintiff to suffer extreme and debilitating mental anguish and emotional distress and will continue to do so for an indefinite period of time." (Am. Compl. P 67).
F. Count VI (Breach of Confidentiality)
"Through the course and scope of her treatment, the Defendants routinely and regularly told others in group therapy statements made by the plaintiff which she had told them in confidence." (Am. Compl. P 77). Such conduct was "extreme and outrageously negligent, [made] with reckless disregard to Plaintiff's mental well being, [and] caused the Plaintiff to suffer extreme and debilitating mental anguish and emotional distress." (Am. Compl. P 78).
G. Count VI (Fraudulent Misrepresentation)
Defendants represented to Lujan that they had the capacity to assist Lujan with her bulimia and other emotional problems but did not represent that such therapy would include belief in bizarre memories of satanic rituals, satanic abuse, murders, and sexual assaults. Defendants' fraudulent misrepresentations concerning the nature and results of their therapy induced Lujan to enter into a contractual relationship with them. Such fraudulent misrepresentations and omissions constituted a "substantial factor in the injuries and damages sustained by [Lujan]." (Am. Compl. P 91).
H. Count VII (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act ("RICO"))4
Defendants utilized the United States Postal Service in the perpetration of the aforementioned fraudulent acts. "Several letters and bills were mailed to the plaintiff encouraging her beliefs in the above described false memories. Numerous phone calls were made to the plaintiff and the police in an effort to promote their fraudulent misrepresentations." (Am. Compl. PP 100-101). These fraudulent misrepresentations -- perpetrated in violation of 18 U.S.C.A. §§ 1341 (West Supp. 1997) ("Frauds and ...