Reininger v. Oklahoma State of et al
ORDER denying 26 Motion to Dismiss. Signed by Honorable Timothy D. DeGiusti on 11/9/2017. (mb)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
WESTERN DISTRICT OF OKLAHOMA
JOHNNY REININGER, JR.,
STATE OF OKLAHOMA, et al.,
Case No. CIV-16-1241-D
Before the Court is Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss [Doc. No. 26], filed pursuant to
Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1). Plaintiff has filed a response [Doc. No. 28], and Defendants have
replied [Doc. No. 29]. Thus, the Motion is fully briefed.
Plaintiff Johnny Reininger, Jr. is deaf. He resides in Oklahoma and tracks the status
of state legislative bills, particularly ones that affect disabled individuals. Defendants State
of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State Senate, Oklahoma House of Representatives, and their
respective leaders – President Pro Tempore Mike Shulz and Speaker Charles A. McCall –
maintain internet websites that show live feeds of legislative hearings and proceedings.
Plaintiff claims he does not have meaningful access to this information because the audio
content of the online broadcasts is not captioned and he cannot understand what is being
said. Plaintiff has contacted both legislative bodies about the lack of captioning and has
asked them to bring the websites into compliance with federal disability discrimination
laws. Plaintiff alleges that despite an admission of noncompliance, captioning has not been
provided due to budgetary constraints. Defendants state in their Motions that captioning
would be cost prohibitive and technologically difficult and, as an alternative, they have
offered to provide interpretive services if Plaintiff gives advance notice that he wants to
attend a proceeding.
Plaintiff brings suit claiming that Defendants have violated and are violating Title II
of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §12131 et seq., and Section 504
of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794, by failing to provide captioning for internet
broadcasts of the Oklahoma Legislature’s proceedings. Title II of the ADA prohibits the
exclusion of a qualified individual with a disability from participation in the services,
programs, or activities of a public entity, and implementing regulations require that a public
entity “furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to afford individuals
with disabilities, including . . . members of the public, an equal opportunity to participate
in, and enjoy the benefits of, a service, program, or activity of a public entity.” See 28
C.F.R. § 35.160(b)(1). The Rehabilitation Act extends similar requirements to programs
that receive federal financial assistance. Plaintiff alleges that as a result of Defendants’
failure to caption, he has been unable to access legislative information that is available to
hearing persons, and he has suffered mental anguish and other nonpecuniary losses.
Plaintiff seeks a declaratory judgment, compensatory damages, and injunctive relief, to
include a mandatory injunction compelling Defendants “to make accessible to individuals
who are deaf or hard of hearing all audio and video content on their websites, including by
displaying simultaneous captioning.” See Compl. [Doc. No. 1] at 7 (Relief, ¶ e).
Defendants seek dismissal on grounds of sovereign immunity under the Eleventh
Amendment of the United States Constitution and States’ immunity from federal control
under the Tenth Amendment. Although Defendants do not designate their Motion as one
for partial dismissal, it is clear upon closer inspection that Defendants do not challenge
Plaintiff’s action in its entirety. Defendants state that while they do not concede the
Rehabilitation Act abrogates sovereign immunity, they “believe this argument is best left
for summary judgment.” See Defs.’ Mot. Dismiss [Doc. No. 26] at 2, n.2. The Motion
addresses the issues of sovereign immunity and States’ rights only as they pertain to
Plaintiff’s ADA claim. See id. at 2 (“Defendants assert that they are immune from suit
under the ADA and further that application of the ADA in the manner asserted by Plaintiff
would be . . . impermissible under the Tenth Amendment.”).
Further, Defendants assert that the individuals sued in their official capacities,
President Pro Tempore Shulz and Speaker McCall, enjoy sovereign immunity only from
an ADA suit for money damages. They admit the Tenth Circuit has authorized an action
for prospective injunctive relief against a state official for a violation of the ADA under
the Ex parte Young1 doctrine. See Defs.’ Mot. Dismiss [Doc. No. 26] at 10 (citing Guttman
v. Khalsa, 669 F.3d 1101, 1127-28 (10th Cir. 2012)). Thus, Defendants Shulz and McCall
seek a dismissal based on sovereign immunity only of Plaintiff’s ADA claim for damages.
See Defs.’ Mot. Dismiss [Doc. No. 26] at 3, 10, 12; Defs.’ Reply Br. [Doc. No. 29] at 5.
Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908).
However, all other defendants – the State, the Senate, and the House of Representatives –
seek dismissal of the ADA action in its entirety. See Defs.’ Mot. Dismiss [Doc. No. 26]
at 3, 9, 12; Defs.’ Reply Br. [Doc. No. 29] at 4-5.
Regarding the Tenth Amendment, Defendants do not contend the ADA is
unconstitutional as applied to them generally; they assert only that the mandatory
injunction Plaintiff seeks would violate the Tenth Amendment. As framed by Defendants,
“[t]he issue presented for decision is whether Title II of the ADA commandeers the
Oklahoma Legislature if the Court finds that [the legislature] must close caption its floor
sessions.” See Defs.’ Mot. Dismiss [Doc. No. 26] at 10; see also Defs.’ Reply Br. [Doc.
No. 29] at 6 (“Because of the type of relief sought the Tenth Amendment acts as a bar.”).
Standard of Decision
Defendants move for dismissal under Rule 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction. As agreed by all parties, there are two types of challenges to subject matter
jurisdiction: (1) facial attacks on the sufficiency of the allegations contained in the
complaint; and (2) challenges to the actual facts upon which subject matter jurisdiction is
based. See Holt v. United States, 46 F.3d 1000, 1002 (10th Cir. 1995). Here, Defendants
make a facial attack on the sufficiency of the allegations contained in the Complaint.
Therefore, all well-pleaded factual allegations of the Complaint are accepted as true. Id.;
see also Ruiz v. McDonnell, 299 F.3d 1173, 1180 (10th Cir. 2002).
Eleventh Amendment Immunity
The Eleventh Amendment grants immunity to the States from “any suit in law or
equity, commenced or prosecuted . . . by Citizens of another State” or by their own citizens.
U.S. Const. amend. XI; see Bd. of Trs. v. Garrett, 531 U.S. 356, 363 (2001) (“The ultimate
guarantee of the Eleventh Amendment is that nonconsenting States may not be sued by
private individuals in federal court.”). There are three exceptions:
First, a state may consent to suit in federal court. Second, Congress may
abrogate a state’s sovereign immunity by appropriate legislation when it acts
under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment. Finally, under Ex parte
Young, 209 U.S. 123, 28 S.Ct. 441, 52 L.Ed. 714 (1908), a plaintiff may bring
suit against individual state officers acting in their official capacities if the
complaint alleges an ongoing violation of federal law and the plaintiff seeks
Levy v. Kansas Dep’t of Soc. & Rehab. Servs., 789 F.3d 1164, 1168–69 (10th Cir. 2015)
(quoting Muscogee (Creek) Nation v. Pruitt, 669 F.3d 1159, 1166 (10th Cir. 2012)). In
this case, Defendants have not consented to Plaintiff’s suit and, as discussed above, they
do not oppose an Ex parte Young action. Thus, only the second exception is pertinent to
the consideration of Defendants’ Motion.
Before reaching the issue of whether Congress has abrogated the State’s sovereign
immunity from Plaintiff’s ADA action, it is necessary to determine: “‘(1) which aspects of
the State’s alleged conduct violated Title II; (2) to what extent such misconduct also
violated the Fourteenth Amendment; and (3) insofar as such misconduct violated Title II
but did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment, whether Congress’s purported abrogation
of sovereign immunity as to that class of conduct is nevertheless valid.’” Guttman v.
Khalsa, 669 F.3d 1101, 1113 (10th Cir. 2012) (quoting United States v. Georgia, 546 U.S.
151, 159 (2006)).
For purposes of the Motion, Defendants concede that Plaintiff has stated a Title II
claim based on their “failure to caption streaming video of legislative sessions.” See Defs.’
Mot. Dismiss [Doc. No. 26] at 5 & n.3. The next step of the analysis also presents no issue
for decision; Plaintiff does not allege a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment in the
Complaint.2 See, e.g., Bearden v. Okla. ex rel. Bd. of Regents, 234 F.Supp.3d 1148, 1151
(W.D. Okla. 2017) (where plaintiff does not assert a Fourteenth Amendment claim “there
is nothing to assess”). Accordingly, because there is an alleged violation of Title II but no
violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Court must proceed to determine whether
Congress has validly abrogated the State’s Eleventh Amendment immunity with respect to
the conduct at issue.
“[T]here is no question Congress intended Title II [of the ADA] to abrogate state
sovereign immunity.” Guttman, 669 F.3d at 1117; see 42 U.S.C. § 12202 (“A State shall
not be immune under the eleventh amendment to the Constitution of the United States from
an action in Federal or State court of competent jurisdiction for a violation of this
The Complaint includes a conclusory statement that Defendants “den[ied] Plaintiff
meaningful access to the content of the legislative proceedings.” Compl. [Doc. No. 1], ¶ 1.
Plaintiff does not argue that this statement alleges a constitutional violation. If it did, Oklahoma
could not raise a sovereign immunity defense because “insofar as Title II creates a private cause
of action for damages against the States for conduct that actually violates the Fourteenth
Amendment, Title II validly abrogates state sovereign immunity.” See Georgia, 546 U.S. at 159
(emphasis in original).
chapter.”). The remaining question is whether Congress’ action “is a valid exercise of its
enforcement power under § 5” of the Fourteenth Amendment. Guttman, 669 F.3d at 1117;
see Tennessee v. Lane, 541 U.S. 509, 518 (2004); Garrett, 531 U.S. at 364. To make this
determination, the Supreme Court announced in City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507,
529-36 (1997), a case-by-case framework that requires consideration of the following:
(1) the nature of the constitutional right at issue; (2) the extent to which
Congress’s remedial statute was passed in response to a documented history
of relevant constitutional violations; and (3) whether the congressional
statute is “congruent and proportional” to the specific class of violations at
issue, given the nature of the relevant constitutional right and the identified
history of violations.
Guttman, 669 F.3d at 1117; see Lane, 541 U.S. at 522, 523-25, 529-31; Garrett, 531 U.S.
at 365, 368, 372.
The Nature of the Constitutional Right at Issue
The Supreme Court recognized in Lane that Congress enacted Title II to “enforce
[the Fourteenth Amendment’s] prohibition on irrational disability discrimination,” along
with “a variety of other basic constitutional guarantees, infringements of which are subject
to more searching judicial review.” Lane, 541 U.S. at 522-23. Because of this breadth, a
determination of the validity of a particular application must focus on the constitutional
right at stake and “the particular services at issue” in the case. See id. at 527; Guttman,
669 F.3d at 1117. For example, the Supreme Court identified the right at issue in Lane to
be a fundamental right of access to the courts and court services that was impaired by
physical barriers encountered by the paraplegic plaintiffs in courthouse buildings, and “was
an appropriate subject for prophylactic legislation.” Lane, 542 U.S. at 529.
In this case, Plaintiff claims the scope of the right at stake should be viewed as the
“right to participation in the political process.” Pl.’s Resp. Br. [Doc. No. 28] at 5. In
defense of this right, Plaintiff cites the Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. Term Limits, Inc.
v. Thornton, 514 U.S. 779 (1995), which stated that “the right of the electors to be
represented by men of their own choice, was so essential for the preservation of all their
other rights, that it ought to be considered as one of the most sacred parts of our
constitution.” Id. at 795 (internal quotations omitted). Plaintiff argues that without equal,
meaningful access to information about the Oklahoma Legislature’s sessions he is denied
the right to participate fully in the political process, and the right to petition regarding the
positions taken by his representatives. Pl.’s Resp. Br. [Doc. No. 28] at 6-7. Plaintiff further
argues that his First Amendment right to vote is implicated by Defendants’ conduct.
The Court finds that Plaintiff’s attempt to broaden the scope of his action to
encompass the right to vote is misguided. Although it may be true that Plaintiff’s access
to information regarding elected representatives is limited by his inability to know what
they are saying in legislative hearings, it is certainly not the case that Plaintiff’s access to
voting itself has been impaired.
On the other hand, the Court also rejects Defendants’
position that the right at stake is the “right to access streaming videos of legislative
sessions.” See Defs.’ Mot. Dismiss [Doc. No. 26] at 7. This narrow construction of the
right fails to recognize the overarching issue, which is a citizen’s right to participate in the
political process and to have meaningful access to the tools necessary to such participation.
In Lane, the Supreme Court considered a fundamental right of access to the courts
and participation in court services. See Lane, 541 U.S. at 533-34. This right is analogous
to a right to participate in the political process that is impaired by a lack of access to
legislative statements by elected representatives. Physical access to a public forum is
meaningless if the individual is denied, due to a physical impairment, access to publicly
available information that allows equal participation in the political process. This right is
encompassed in the First Amendment right to “petition the government for a redress of
grievances.” U.S. Const. amend. I. If a citizen is denied access to information about the
legislative positions of his or her representatives, the citizen’s ability to adequately petition
the government and participate in the political process is severely impaired.
The Court also notes that the Supreme Court has recognized a First Amendment
“right of the public to receive suitable access to social, political, esthetic, moral, and other
ideas and experiences” through broadcast media. See Red Lion Broad. Co. v. FCC, 395
U.S. 367, 390 (1969). In Red Lion, the Court upheld the FCC’s “fairness doctrine” that
required broadcasters to provide adequate coverage of public issues and to ensure the
coverage fairly and accurately reflected opposing views “because the doctrine advanced
the substantial government interest in ensuring balanced presentations of views in this
limited medium,” which has a finite number of frequencies. See FCC v. League of Women
Voters, 468 U.S. 364, 378 (1984). In CBS, Inc. v. FCC, 453 U.S. 367, 396-97 (1981), the
Court upheld a statutory right of access to broadcast media for federal candidates because
it made “a significant contribution to freedom of expression by enhancing the ability of
candidates to present, and the public to receive, information necessary for the effective
operation of the democratic process” and because it defined a sufficiently “limited right of
‘reasonable’ access” so “the discretion of broadcasters to present their views on any issue
or to carry any particular type of programming” was not impaired. “The thrust of these
restrictions [on the broadcasting industry] has generally been to secure the public’s First
Amendment interest in receiving a balanced presentation of views on diverse matters of
public concern.” League of Women Voters, 468 U.S. at 380. Similarly, in this case, where
the Oklahoma Legislature is engaged in internet broadcasting of its proceedings to the
public, there is an analogous right of access to the information conveyed about state
Under the circumstances, the Court finds that Plaintiff’s right to meaningful
participation in the political process and right of access to publicly available information
needed to participate in the process is a fundamental right, and an infringement of the right
should receive heightened scrutiny.
Historical Record of Constitutional Violations
The Court next considers whether there is a historical record and pattern of
constitutional violations. Title II of the ADA was enacted in the midst of widespread
discrimination against individuals with disabilities in public services and programs. See
Lane, 541 U.S. at 524 (“Congress enacted Title II against a backdrop of pervasive unequal
treatment of persons with disabilities in the administration of state services and programs,
including systematic deprivations of fundamental rights.”). This included discrimination
against hearing-impaired individuals. See id. at 527 (summarizing congressional record
that contained “numerous examples of the exclusion of persons with disabilities from state
judicial services and programs, including exclusion of persons with visual impairments and
hearing impairments from jury service [and] failure of state and local governments to
provide interpretive services for the hearing impaired”). Moreover, the Supreme Court in
Garrett identified many instances in which state agencies discriminated against deaf
individuals by denying them access to interpretive services. See Garrett, 531 U.S. at 391424 (Breyer, J., dissenting) (App. C to opinion of Breyer, J.). Although Defendants are
correct in their observation that Plaintiff does not offer examples of the exact type of
discrimination in question here, the Court finds adequate examples of similar constitutional
violations that have been described in other cases.
Defendants are also correct that there is no requirement for legislative proceedings
to be broadcast, but the ADA does require that a qualified individual with a disability be
afforded equal participation and “benefits of the services, programs or activities of a public
entity.” See 42 U.S.C. § 12132. Congress deemed this requirement to be necessary because
“discrimination against individuals with disabilities persists in such critical areas as . . .
public accommodations, education, transportation, communication, recreation, . . . voting,
and access to public services.” Id. § 12101(a)(3) (emphasis added).3 Plaintiff is, by
“Public accommodations” may not be limited to buildings and physical structures but
may include providers of services and “service establishments,” like internet websites. See
Carparts Distrib. Ctr., Inc. v. Auto. Wholesaler’s Ass’n of New England, Inc., 37 F.3d 12, 19 (1st
Cir. 1994); 42 U.S.C. § 12181(7)(F); but see Access Now, Inc. v. Sw. Airlines Co., 385 F.3d 1324,
1334 (11th Cir. 2004) (declining to “wad[e] into the thicket of a circuit split on this issue”).
definition, a qualified individual with a disability, and due to his disability, he does not
have the same access to public legislative proceedings as nondisabled persons. 42 U.S.C.
§ 12102(1)(A) (defining “disability” to include physical impairment that substantially
limits a major life activity, such as hearing). Legislative proceedings are undoubtedly the
activities of a public entity, and the internet broadcast of legislative proceedings is a public
service. Consequently, Plaintiff’s allegations (which are accepted as true), coupled with a
history and pattern of unconstitutional discrimination by state governments against
hearing-impaired individuals, are sufficient to declare that Congress passed the ADA
accommodation statute in response to a documented history of relevant constitutional
Congruence and Proportionality
In exercising its Section 5 powers, “Congress may enact so-called prophylactic
legislation that proscribes facially constitutional conduct, in order to prevent and deter
unconstitutional conduct.” Nevada Dep’t of Hum. Res. v. Hibbs, 538 U.S. 721, 727-28
(2003). In remedying constitutional violations, “Section 5 legislation is valid if it exhibits
‘a congruence and proportionality between the injury to be prevented or remedied and the
means adopted to that end.’” Lane, 541 U.S. at 520 (quoting Boerne, 521 U.S. at 520).
“The question is whether Title II is congruent and proportional to the specific class of
violations at issue, given the nature of the relevant constitutional right and the identified
history of violations.” Guttman, 669 F.3d, at 1119-20.
Although “congruence and
proportionality” has not been well defined by the Supreme Court, the Court has applied the
test in several recent cases, including Lane, Hibbs, and Garrett, and so provided some
guidance to lower courts on how to approach the analysis. See Guttman, 669 F.3d at 112223.
First, before applying the test, it is necessary to “identify the relevant class of state
action at issue.” Guttman, 669 F.3d at 1120. In Lane, the court narrowed the category of
state action to the specific right of access to the courts, rather than the right of access to all
state-owned buildings. Lane, 541 U.S. at 530-31. The Court finds that the relevant
category of state action here should be similarly tailored, and the analysis should be focused
on discrimination implicating the specific individual right of meaningful participation in
In constructing a remedy under Section 5, Congress is limited to remedying existing
guarantees and cannot alter a substantive constitutional right. Boerne, 521 U.S. at 508.
Also, “[w]hen fundamental rights . . . or suspect classes . . . are implicated, Congress’s
historical findings need not be as exhaustive, and the congruence and proportionality of the
remedial measure need not be as precise.” Guttman, 669 F.3d at 1122. Thus, the precision
of the remedial measure directly correlates with the significance of the constitutional right
being protected. It is established that “persons with disabilities do not compose a suspect
class.” Id. at 1123; see City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center, 473 U.S. 432, 442
(1985); Garrett, 531 U.S. at 367 (applying rational-basis review). However, a citizen’s
right to meaningful participation in the political process and to access publicly available
information needed to participate in the process, as discussed above, is a fundamental right.
Therefore, the prophylactic remedial legislation at issue requires less precision.
Title II of the ADA was enacted in response to widespread discrimination; it
attempts to remedy discrimination toward disabled individuals throughout state
governments, including state legislatures. The significant number of violations noted and
the importance of the right to participate in the legislative process lead to the conclusion
that Congress’s remedial efforts were congruent and proportional to the injury it sought to
prevent. Moreover as Plaintiff notes, Title II allows public entities to assert the affirmative
defenses of undue burden and fundamental alteration, and the availability of these defenses
ensures that the required accommodations are not overly burdensome. See Pl.’s Resp. Br.
[Doc. No. 28] at 12; see also Lane, 541 U.S. at 531-532.
Conclusion Regarding Sovereign Immunity
In light of the above, the Court concludes that Congress enacted Title II of the ADA
to remedy discrimination against deaf individuals by state governments and legislatures,
that Plaintiff has sufficiently shown the right of meaningful participation in the political
process and access to publicly available information needed to participate in the process is
a fundamental right, and that Title II of the ADA is a congruent and proportional measure
to enforce that right. Therefore, Oklahoma’s sovereign immunity from Plaintiff’s ADA
claim suit should be deemed abrogated, and Defendants’ Motion should be denied as to the
defense of sovereign immunity.4
Alternatively, even without a finding that the right to participate in the political process
is a fundamental right, the State’s sovereign immunity may be deemed validly abrogated “if
Tenth Amendment Commandeering of the Legislature
As part of the relief sought by the Complaint, Plaintiff asks the Court to issue a
mandatory injunction directing the Oklahoma Legislature to caption the audio portion of
their online broadcast of legislative proceedings. Defendants assert that this request is
contrary to the doctrine of dual sovereignty and granting it would violate the Tenth
They argue that forcing the Oklahoma Legislature to implement
captioning would control the manner in which the State and its officials implement the
ADA, and would amount to commandeering a state government, which is prohibited under
Supreme Court precedents such as Printz v. United States, 521 U.S. 898 (1997), and New
York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144 (1992). In these and other cases, the Court has held
that “the Federal Government may not compel the States to implement, by legislation or
executive action, federal regulatory programs.” Printz, 521 U.S. at 925.
One difficulty with this aspect of Defendants’ Motion is that they do not seek the
dismissal of a claim for relief. See Def.’s Mot. Dismiss [Doc. No. 26] at 10-12. Instead,
Defendants ask the Court to rule that a particular remedy sought by Plaintiff under the
ADA is unavailable. See id. at 12 (arguing that Title II of the ADA would invade state
Congress found pervasive unconstitutional state conduct.” See Guttman, 669 F.3d at 1122-23.
Pervasiveness has been found primarily in public higher education cases. See id. n.4 (citing Toledo
v. Sanchez, 454 F.3d 24, 39-40 (1st Cir. 2006)); see also Constantine v. Rectors & Visitors of
George Mason Univ., 411 F.3d 474, 490 (4th Cir. 2005); Bowers v. Nat’l Collegiate Athletic Ass’n,
475 F.3d 524, 555-56 (3rd Cir. 2007); Ass’n for Disabled Am. v. Fla. Int’l Univ., 405 F.3d 954,
956-59 (11th Cir. 2005). Applying the factors identified in those cases – (1) a persistent pattern
of exclusion and irrational treatment of disabled individuals, (2) the gravity of harm from such
discrimination, and (3) limited compliance costs – the Court could arguably find that Oklahoma’s
sovereign immunity should be deemed abrogated in this case.
sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment if the Oklahoma Legislature is required to either
pass laws or make appropriations to implement captioning).5 The Court finds, however,
that the issue of what relief may be available to Plaintiff if he prevails on his ADA claim
is not ripe for decision or appropriate for resolution under Rule 12(b).
Typically, a Rule 12(b) motion tests the sufficiency of a claim and not a prayer for
relief. The Tenth Circuit has held that a motion to dismiss is not a proper vehicle for
addressing a prayer for relief, which is not part of the cause of action. See Coll v. First Am.
Title Ins. Co., 642 F.3d 876, 901 (10th Cir. 2011); Daniels v. Thomas, 225 F.2d 795, 797
(10th Cir. 1955) (“it is well settled that the prayer for relief is [not] part of the cause of
action”); see also 5 Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice & Procedure
§ 1255 at 508-09 (3d ed. 2004) (A “demand for judgment is not considered part of the
claim . . . . Thus, the selection of an improper remedy in the . . . demand for relief will not
be fatal to a party’s pleading . . . .”); Schoonover v. Schoonover, 172 F.2d 526, 530 (10th
Cir. 1949) (Because “the prayer forms no part of the cause of action, . . . a pleader will be
entitled to the relief made out by the case and stated in the pleadings, irrespective of what
is asked for in the prayer.”). This Court has previously held that whether a particular
remedy, such as punitive damages, is “recoverable in a case is not a proper subject for
adjudication in a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, as the prayer for relief is not a part of the cause of
Plaintiff notes that Defendants do not challenge his claim under the Rehabilitation Act
on Tenth Amendment grounds. See Pl.’s Resp. Br. [Doc. No. 28] at 15 n.7. He argues that the
Rehabilitation Act was enacted pursuant to Congress’ spending power and requires a different
action.” See Douglas v. Miller, 864 F. Supp. 2d 1205, 1220 (W.D. Okla. Mar. 30, 2012)
(citations omitted); see also Lee v. ConocoPhillips Co., Case No. CIV-14-1391-D, 2016
WL 7496143, *4 (W.D. Okla. Dec. 30, 2016).
Similarly here, where Defendants challenge a prayer for relief under Rule 12(b)(1),
the Court finds that an order dismissing Plaintiff’s request for injunctive relief would be
inappropriate. The Court further finds that a decision whether Plaintiff may obtain a
mandatory injunction to enforce the ADA in a particular manner would be premature at
this stage of the proceedings, prior to any factual development or determination of liability.
Therefore, this aspect of Defendants’ Motion should be denied.
For these reasons, the Court finds that Defendants’ Motion should be denied as to
both Eleventh Amendment immunity from Plaintiff’s ADA action and Tenth Amendment
immunity from Plaintiff’s request for a mandatory injunction to compel captioning.6
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss [Doc. No. 26]
is DENIED, as set forth herein.
IT IS SO ORDERED this 9th day of November, 2017.
Plaintiff’s action under the Rehabilitation Act was not addressed by the Motion.
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