Bright v. University of Oklahoma Board of Regents
ORDER granting 5 defendant's Motion to Dismiss and dismissing this action (as more fully set out). Signed by Honorable Vicki Miles-LaGrange on 4/4/2017. (ks)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
WESTERN DISTRICT OF OKLAHOMA
UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA
BOARD OF REGENTS,
Case No. CIV-16-1188-M
Before the Court is defendant’s Motion to Dismiss, filed October 20, 2016. On February
23, 2017, plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se, filed her response, and on March 2, 2017, defendant
filed its reply.
On September 20, 2016, plaintiff filed this action in the District Court of Cleveland County,
State of Oklahoma. In her Petition, plaintiff appears to be asserting a cause of action for
discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”)
and a cause of action for libel. On October 13, 2016, defendant removed this action to this Court.
Defendant now moves to dismiss plaintiff’s Petition pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(1) and (6).
Defendant asserts, in part, that plaintiff’s ADA cause of action should be dismissed because
defendant is entitled to sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment. The United States
Supreme Court has held that suits brought against a state or its entities to recover money damages
under Title I of the ADA are barred by the Eleventh Amendment. See Bd. of Trs. of the Univ. of
Ala. v. Garrett, 531 U.S. 356, 360 (2001). Since defendant is an entity of the State of Oklahoma,
the Court finds that plaintiff’s ADA claim, which is seeking money damages under Title I, is barred
by the Eleventh Amendment and should be dismissed.1
Further, defendant asserts, in part, that because plaintiff failed to exhaust or allege
exhaustion of her administrative remedies, plaintiff’s libel claim should be dismissed. Tort claims
against the State of Oklahoma and its political subdivisions are governed by the Oklahoma
Governmental Tort Claims Act (“OGTCA”). See Okla. Stat. tit. 51, § 153. The OGTCA provides,
in pertinent part:
A. Any person having a claim against the state or a political
subdivision within the scope of Section 151 et seq. of this title shall
present a claim to the state or political subdivision for any
appropriate relief including the award of money damages.
B. Except as provided in subsection H of this section, and not
withstanding any other provision of law, claims against the state or
a political subdivision are to be presented within one (1) year of the
date the loss occurs. A claim against the state or a political
subdivision shall be forever barred unless notice thereof is presented
within one (1) year after the loss occurs.
Okla. Stat. tit. 51, § 156(A), (B).
Having carefully reviewed plaintiff’s Petition, as well as her response to defendant’s
motion to dismiss, the Court finds that plaintiff’s libel claim should be dismissed. Specifically,
the Court finds that plaintiff’s libel claim is governed by the OGTCA. The Court further finds that
plaintiff has not alleged that she presented any tort claim to defendant as required under the
OGTCA. Accordingly, the Court finds that plaintiff’s libel claim should be dismissed for failure
to exhaust administrative remedies.
The Court would note that defendant’s removal of this action does not act as a waiver of
defendant’s immunity from liability, but only acts as a waiver of defendant’s immunity from suit
in federal court. See Trant v. Okla., 754 F.3d 1158, 1173 (10th Cir. 2014) (“we recognize that a
state may waive its immunity from suit in a federal forum while retaining its immunity from
Accordingly, for the reasons set forth above, the Court GRANTS defendant’s Motion to
Dismiss [docket no. 5] and DISMISSES this action.
IT IS SO ORDERED this 4th day of April, 2017.
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