this language indicates that the Supreme Court favors summary judgment in proper cases, in a subsequent decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that summary judgment is a "drastic remedy." See Greenberg, supra, at slip op. p. 5. The Court understands these cases to stand for the proposition that summary judgment should only be granted in clear cases.
To assure that no person is deprived of his or her day in court, "the inferences to be drawn from the underlying facts contained in such materials [affidavits, depositions, and exhibits] must be viewed in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion." Anderson, supra, 106 S. Ct. at 2513. In furtherance of this end, a trial court should not deny summary judgment where it believes that the better course is to proceed to trial. Id. When determining whether a reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party, judges must apply to themselves the same substantive evidentiary burden which would be imposed on a jury at trial. Id.5
B. Statute of Limitations
The defendants would bar all of the plaintiff's claims on the basis of the applicable statute of limitations. In this Circuit, the choice of a statute of limitations is a substantive issue and therefore must be decided by the law of the forum. See Steorts v. American Air Lines, Inc., 207 U.S. App. D.C. 369, 647 F.2d 194, 196-97 (D.C. Cir. 1981). The District of Columbia requires the claims brought by the plaintiff to be filed within three years from the time the cause of action accrued. D.C. Code Ann. § 12-301(8) (1981); Burda v. National Association of Postal Supervisors, 592 F. Supp. 273, 281 (D.D.C. 1984), aff'd, 248 U.S. App. D.C. 415, 771 F.2d 1555 (D.C. Cir. 1985) (same limitations period applies to claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress). John Doe I filed his complaint on September 9, 1985. Thus, to fit within the applicable limitations period, his cause of action must have "accrued" by September 8, 1982.
The defendants first contend that John Doe I's cause of action accrued at the time he had his last official contact with them. On the basis of the plaintiff's answers to interrogatories, the defendants claim this date to be January of 1980 -- when the plaintiff took his last TM course. However, the plaintiff now claims to have recently uncovered evidence proving that his last course with the defendants was taken in January of 1983, placing him within the statutorily prescribed time limit. For the purpose of considering a motion for summary judgment, the Court must view the evidence in a light which most favors the party opposing the motion. As such, the Court is willing to accept the plaintiff's affidavit and so rejects the defendants' first argument. See Plaintiff's Affidavit II para. 2.
To circumvent the effect of this holding, the defendants claim, in the alternative, that the plaintiff's cause of action accrued when he knew, or should have known, that the injuries now claimed were linked to the practice of TM. In support of this theory, the defendants claim that in 1976 John Doe I became a teacher of TM. The defendants maintain that he could not simultaneously teach TM and yet have been ignorant of its potentially adverse effects.
The defendants' argument rests on the tenuous assumption that all teachers of TM both know enough about the practice to understand all its potential hazards and have the capacity to understand its deleterious effects on them personally. In King v. Kitchen Magic, Inc., 391 A.2d 1184, 1186 (D.C. 1978), the District of Columbia Court of Appeals held that in cases involving allegations of fraud, a cause of action does not accrue until "the fraud either is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered." The plaintiff claims to have discovered the fraud upon him in the fall of 1983. See Complaint at 13. The defendants' argument presupposes that the plaintiff, in due diligence, should have discovered the fraud at an earlier time. The test of due diligence judges a plaintiff's efforts to uncover his cause of action by a reasonable man standard. See Richards v. Mileski, 213 U.S. App. D.C. 220, 662 F.2d 65, 71 (D.C. Cir. 1981). In all but the "most exceptional cases", this is a question best left to the trier of fact. See Grigsby v. Sterling Drug, Inc., 428 F. Supp. 242, 243 (D.D.C. 1975), aff'd, 177 U.S. App. D.C. 270, 543 F.2d 417 (D.C. Cir. 1976), cert. denied, 431 U.S. 967, 53 L. Ed. 2d 1063, 97 S. Ct. 2925 (1977). In this case in particular the facts militate in favor of leaving this question for a jury. John Doe I claims to have been involved in a "alternative culture". Affidavit II, para. 9. Plaintiff claims that as a result of his exposure to this culture, he became psychologically impaired. In such circumstances, the Court declines to decide, as a matter of law, that a reasonable person in John Doe I's circumstances would certainly have detected fraud. As the Court of Appeals in this Circuit stated in Mileski, supra, 662 F.2d at 71,
Though the law of fraud does not endorse a hear no evil, see no evil approach, neither does it require that an aggrieved party have proceeded from the outset as if he were dealing with thieves.