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Jacquett v. State, ex rel., Board of Oklahoma Corporation Commission

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

April 19, 2018

ROSALYN JACQUETT, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF OKLAHOMA, ex rel., BOARD OF OKLAHOMA CORPORATION COMMISSION, Defendant.

          ORDER

          VICKI MILES-LaGRANGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is defendant's Motion to Dismiss, filed October 25, 2017. On November 20, 2017, plaintiff filed her response, and on November 27, 2017, defendant filed its reply.

         I. Introduction

         On September 25, 2017, plaintiff filed the instant action, asserting the following causes of action against defendant: (1) breach of employment contract, (2) intentional infliction of emotional distress, (3) violation of the Americans with Disability Act (“ADA”) and the Oklahoma Anti-Handicap Act, (4) violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 - equal protection, (5) violation of Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and retaliation, (6) violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 - race, (7) violation of Title VII - race, and (8) violation of Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”). Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and (6), defendant now moves this Court to dismiss plaintiff's causes of action because plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and the Court otherwise lacks jurisdiction over plaintiff's causes of action.

         II. Discussion

         A. Intentional infliction of emotional distress, ADA, ADEA, FMLA, § 1983, and § 1981 causes of action

         In her response, plaintiff concedes that her failure to comply with the Oklahoma Governmental Tort Claims Act notice provisions renders her intentional infliction of emotional distress cause of action void and voluntarily dismisses said cause of action. Plaintiff also concedes that the State of Oklahoma has not waived its sovereign immunity for liability in relation to her ADA cause of action and moves to amend her complaint to substitute a cause of action for violation of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974 in place of her ADA cause of action. Further, plaintiff concedes that her ADEA and FMLA causes of action are not viable and concedes to dismissal of these causes of action. Finally, plaintiff concedes that defendant cannot be sued under §§ 1983 and 1981. Accordingly, the Court finds that plaintiff's causes of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress, violation of the ADA, violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 - equal protection, violation of the FMLA and retaliation, violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981-race, and violation of the ADEA should be dismissed.

         B. Rule 12(b)(6) standard for dismissal

         Regarding the standard for determining whether to dismiss a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, the United States Supreme Court has held:

To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. The plausibility standard is not akin to a “probability requirement, ” but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.

Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotations and citations omitted). Further, “where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged - but it has not shown - that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Id. at 679 (internal quotations and citations omitted). Additionally, “[a] pleading that offers labels and conclusions or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders naked assertion[s] devoid of further factual enhancement.” Id. at 678 (internal quotations and citations omitted). A court “must determine whether the complaint sufficiently alleges facts supporting all the elements necessary to establish an entitlement to relief under the legal theory proposed.” Lane v. Simon, 495 F.3d 1182, 1186 (10th Cir. 2007) (internal quotations and citation omitted). Finally, “[a] court reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint presumes all of plaintiff's factual allegations are true and construes them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1109 (10th Cir. 1991).

         C. Breach of employment contract cause of action

         Defendant asserts plaintiff's breach of employment contract cause of action should be dismissed. Specifically, defendant contends that plaintiff has failed to state a claim for breach of an implied or express contract. Defendant further contends that there is no implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in the at-will employer/employee relationship and plaintiff has not and cannot allege facts sufficient to state a valid and enforceable implied contract based on a personnel policy manual under Oklahoma law. Plaintiff asserts that she has stated a claim for breach of employment contract based upon the policies and procedures set forth in defendant's personnel manual.

         Oklahoma law recognizes that an employee handbook/personnel manual may form the basis of an implied contract between an employer and its employees. See Russell v. Bd. of Cty. ...


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