Manning v. Southwestern Bell Telephone Company et al
ORDER granting 18 defendant Aaron McSpadden's Second Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim and dismissing plaintiff's malicious wrong cause of action (as more fully set out). Signed by Honorable Vicki Miles-LaGrange on 4/12/2018. (ks)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
WESTERN DISTRICT OF OKLAHOMA
TELEPHONE COMPANY and
AARON MCSPADDEN, individually,
Case No. CIV-18-44-M
Before the Court is defendant Aaron McSpadden’s (“McSpadden”) Second Motion to
Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim, filed February 27, 2018. On March 20, 2018, plaintiff filed
his response, and on March 26, 2018, McSpadden filed his reply.
Plaintiff was employed by defendant Southwestern Bell Telephone Company (“SW Bell”)
as a premises technician from approximately December 14, 2012 until he was terminated on June
McSpadden became plaintiff’s supervisor in 2015.
Plaintiff alleges that while
supervising him, McSpadden treated plaintiff and other African American employees differently
(negatively) than he treated white employees. Plaintiff further alleges that McSpadden created a
hostile work environment, harassed him, and wrongfully disciplined him because of the color of
his skin and that the goal of these actions was to humiliate plaintiff to get him to quit and to create
fraudulent records to terminate plaintiff. In one incident on November 1, 2015, McSpadden sent
a picture of a gorilla in a group text to other employees of SW Bell and directly referenced the
The facts set forth in this Introduction are based upon plaintiff’s Amended Complaint.
appearance of plaintiff in comparison to the picture of the gorilla. Plaintiff complained about
McSpadden’s conduct. On June 30, 2016, plaintiff was terminated from his employment.
On December 20, 2017, plaintiff filed the instant action. On February 13, 2018, plaintiff
filed his Amended Complaint, asserting a racial discrimination cause of action against SW Bell
and a malicious wrong cause of action against McSpadden. McSpadden now moves the Court to
dismiss plaintiff’s malicious wrong cause of action for failure to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted.
McSpadden asserts, in part, that plaintiff’s malicious wrong cause of action is preempted
by the Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination Act (“OADA”). The OADA “provides for exclusive
remedies within the state of the policies for individuals alleging discrimination in employment on
the basis of race . . . .” Okla. Stat. tit. 25, § 1101(A). The Tenth Circuit has found that a tort claim
based on the same set of facts as a plaintiff’s discrimination claim falls within the OADA’s
limitation of common law remedies. See Jones v. Needham, 856 F.3d 1284, 1292 (10th Cir. 2017).
The Tenth Circuit, however, has found:
it could be that the same facts simply provide the basis for two
different legal theories that are sufficiently distinct so as not to be
precluded by the OADA. This sometimes happens in the Title VII
context when courts have found that the separately-actionable tort is
“highly personable” in nature.
Id. (internal citation omitted).
Having carefully reviewed plaintiff’s Amended Complaint, the Court finds that plaintiff’s
malicious wrong cause of action falls within the OADA’s limitation of common law remedies.
Specifically, the Court finds that plaintiff’s malicious wrong cause of action is based on the same
set of facts as his racial discrimination cause of action. In fact, plaintiff incorporates by reference
all preceding paragraphs of his Amended Complaint in his malicious wrong cause of action.
Additionally, the Court finds the exception noted in Jones does not apply to plaintiff’s malicious
wrong cause of action. Specifically, the Court finds both the injury alleged and the conduct causing
the injury is the same in plaintiff’s racial discrimination cause of action and malicious wrong cause
of action. Both causes of action are asserting plaintiff was terminated based upon McSpadden’s
racist conduct. Accordingly, the Court finds that plaintiff’s malicious wrong cause of action
should be dismissed.
For the reasons set forth above, the Court GRANTS McSpadden’s Second Motion to
Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim [docket no. 18] and DISMISSES plaintiff’s malicious wrong
cause of action.
IT IS SO ORDERED this 12th day of April, 2018.
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