Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Johnson v. Independent School District No 3 of Oklahoma County

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

April 10, 2018

ANGELA JOHNSON, individually, and as Mother and Next Friend of B.F., a Minor, Plaintiffs,
v.
INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 3 OF OKLAHOMA COUNTY, OKLAHOMA a/k/a LUTHER PUBLIC SCHOOLS, a Political Subdivision of the State of Oklahoma, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          VICKI MILES-LaGRANGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court are the Motion to Dismiss by the Defendants Independent School District No. 3 of Oklahoma County, Oklahoma; the Board of Education of the School of Luther; Sherri Anderson, Matthew Mohr, Ray Stanfield, Aaron Bachhofer, Patrice Christy, and Donita Mackey, All in Their Official Capacities as Luther School Board Members and the Motion to Dismiss by the Defendants Sherri Anderson, Matthew Mohr, Ray Stanfield, Aaron Bachhofer, Patrice Christy and Donita Mackey in Their Individual Capacities. Plaintiffs have filed their combined response to defendants' motions to dismiss, and defendants have filed their joint reply.

         I. Introduction[1]

         Beginning in the latter part of 2014, B.F. began texting with Kyle Whitmus (“Whitmus”), the band director employed with defendant Independent School District No. 3 of Oklahoma County, Oklahoma a/k/a Luther Public Schools (“LPS”), about issues she was having at home. B.F. was 12 years old at the time and a 6th grader at Luther Middle School. B.F. and Whitmus' texts grew sexual in nature and continued for months. The text messages between B.F. and Whitmus graduated into several face-to-face meetings after band class on school property and during school hours. After band class was dismissed, B.F. would wait behind and Whitmus would kiss B.F. and touch her private parts over her clothing. B.F. would then hurry to the bus to be transferred back to the middle school.

         Sometime in January 2015, Whitmus made a plan to have B.F. stay after class and not take the bus back to the middle school. Once the bus left, B.F. and Whitmus were alone in the building, and they engaged in sexual intercourse in the band room.[2] Following the sexual intercourse, a Luther Public School counselor heard rumors of the relationship between B.F. and Whitmus. The counselor brought the rumors to the attention of B.F.'s parents. B.F.'s parents contacted the authorities. On February 16, 2016, Whitmus was arrested for having a sexual relationship with a child under the age of 14. Whitmus was sentenced in Oklahoma County on July 24, 2017.

         Whitmus' wife testified during the sentencing hearing that in the fall of 2011, she told the superintendent of LPS that Whitmus was having an inappropriate relationship with a young female student. No. action was taken by LPS or the administrators. Additionally, in 2012, during a school sponsored band trip, Whitmus was caught in a hotel room in Dallas, Texas alone with a young, underage student. Although Whitmus was suspended for two days, no investigation was initiated nor was the conduct reported to the Department of Human Services. Following the hotel incident, Whitmus was caught, again, with the same young, underage student alone at lunch. Again, Whitmus was suspended for two days, but no investigation was initiated nor was the conduct reported to the Department of Human Services. On at least one other occasion prior to the incident at bar, Whitmus was observed acting inappropriately with a young, underage female student while on a school sponsored band trip. This conduct was witnessed by several parents and at least one Luther School Board member. Again, no investigation was initiated and no action was taken.

         On October 4, 2017, plaintiffs filed the instant action, alleging the following causes of action: (1) negligence against LPS, (2) intentional infliction of emotional distress, (3) assault and battery, (4) negligence per se, (5) vicarious liability, (6) negligence against the Board of Education of the School of Luther (“Luther School Board”), (7) liability under § 1983, and (8) liability under 20 U.S.C. § 1681 (“Title IX”). Defendants LPS, the Luther School Board, and the Luther School Board Members now move this Court to dismiss all causes of action against them.

         II. Discussion

         A. Luther School Board and Luther School Board Members

         In their response, plaintiffs concede to the dismissal of the Luther School Board Members in both their official and individual capacities and to the dismissal of the Luther School Board. Accordingly, the Court finds that defendant Luther School Board and defendants Sherri Anderson, Matthew Mohr, Ray Stanfield, Aaron Bachhofer, Patrice Christy, and Donita Mackey, in both their official and individual capacities, should be dismissed.

         B. Causes of Action Against LPS

         1. Negligence, negligence per se, and vicarious liability

         LPS asserts that plaintiffs' causes of action for negligence, negligence per se, and vicarious liability should be dismissed for failure to comply with the mandatory time provisions in the Oklahoma Governmental Tort Claims Act. Specifically, LPS asserts that plaintiffs' January 9, 2017 notice of tort claim to LPS is untimely because it was filed more than one year from when plaintiffs' claim accrued against LPS. LPS contends that plaintiffs had notice of a possible inappropriate relationship between B.F. and Whitmus as early as April 5, 2015 and had until April 5, 2016 to file a notice of tort claim with LPS.

         Plaintiffs assert that their tort claim notice was timely given or, alternatively, that a question of fact remains as to the appropriate accrual date. Specifically, plaintiffs assert that the injury underlying their negligence claims against LPS is not the underlying inappropriate relationship between Whitmus and B.F. but the multiple failures on the part of LPS to protect and prevent this type of abuse and that the date plaintiffs discovered LPS' conduct underlying their claims for negligence, negligence per se, and vicarious liability is the appropriate date to use to determine the timeliness of the notice of tort claim. Plaintiffs further contend that the facts supporting their negligence claims did not become known to them until the preliminary hearing in Whitmus' criminal trial, which occurred on February 25, 2016. Finally, plaintiffs contend that LPS failed to disclose information that could have provided them enough information to properly make a claim sooner.

         “The Oklahoma Governmental Tort Claims Act (‘GTCA'), provides the exclusive remedy for an injured plaintiff to recover against a governmental entity in tort.” Watkins v. Cent. State Griffin Mem'l Hosp., 377 P.3d 124, 130 (Okla. 2016). The time frame for bringing a tort claim under the GTCA is narrowly structured. See Id. “[C]laims against the state or a political subdivision are to be presented within one (1) year of the date the loss occurs” and said claims “shall be forever barred unless notice thereof is presented within one (1) year after the loss occurs.” Okla. Stat. tit. 51, § 156(B). The loss in the instant action is B.F.'s injuries resulting from the inappropriate relationship between B.F. and Whitmus. Therefore, plaintiffs had until April 5, 2016 to file a notice of tort claim with LPS. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.