United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
TIMOTHY D. DEGIUSTI CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Defendants’ Renewed Joint Motion to
Dismiss [Doc. No. 24]. Plaintiff has responded in opposition
[Doc. No. 28], and Defendants have replied [Doc. No. 33]. The
matter is fully briefed and at issue.
formerly an administrative assistant to the Cleveland County
Fair Board (“Fair Board”), asserts claims arising
out of Defendants’ termination of her employment.
Defendants, who are being sued in their individual
capacities, are Cleveland County Commissioners Rod
Cleveland and Dary Stacy; Stephan Koranda, former Executive
Director of the Fair Board; and Harlen Fipps and Jimmy Young,
members of the Fair Board.
summarize, the First Amended Complaint [Doc. No. 22] alleges:
• In 2010, Plaintiff was hired as an administrative
assistant to the Fair Board, pursuant to an oral agreement
approved by the nine Fair Board members, unanimously, at an
• During her tenure, Plaintiff had no disciplinary
problems or write-ups and was well liked by the Fair Board
• In November 2013, Koranda was hired as the Executive
Director of the Fair Board. Plaintiff, who applied for and
was interviewed for the position, asserts that she “was
summarily rejected … as she was a younger female and
therefore presumably less qualified” than Koranda, the
male applicant. [Doc. No. 22 at ¶ 22]
• Stacy was the chairman of the search committee for the
Fair Board, and Koranda listed him as a reference on his
application. Stacy used his and Cleveland’s influence
to get Koranda hired.
• Upon assuming the position, Koranda immediately
created a hostile and verbally and emotionally abusive
environment toward the younger female employees.
• Koranda directed Plaintiff not to have any contact
with the Fair Board members as that was now his function.
This was a demotion of Plaintiff s previous position and a
change in working conditions.
• Koranda was not cordial toward Plaintiff and would
regularly stand or take a threatening position around her.
• Koranda falsely accused Plaintiff of having anger
issues and conducting personal business on her work computer.
When Plaintiff attempted to communicate her complaints with
the purported human resources director for Cleveland County
(“the County”), Plaintiff was informed that Stacy
and Cleveland would support Koranda. Further, the
County’s HR director refused to assist Plaintiff,
asserting that Plaintiff was an employee of the Fair Board
and not under the County’s jurisdiction.
• When Plaintiff attempted to address her complaints
about Koranda to the Fair Board, Plaintiff learned that Fipps
and Young had an “understanding” with Stacy and
Cleveland not to interfere with Koranda’s actions.
Id. at ¶ 30.
• After Plaintiff attempted to voice her complaints,
Koranda became more hostile and Plaintiff became increasingly
more isolated at work.
• In January 2014, Plaintiff and Koranda attended a
conference together. Koranda drove. Although their rooms at
the hotel were close in proximity and Koranda’s vehicle
was parked directly outside the rooms, Koranda moved the
vehicle around to the front of the hotel after he loaded his
luggage. As a result, Plaintiff was forced to carry her
luggage to the front lobby.
• In April 2014, Plaintiff was directed to appear before
Koranda and the County’s HR director. At the meeting,
Plaintiff was belittled by Koranda and falsely accused of
misconduct. Plaintiff was again directed not to have any
contact with the Fair Board members because it made Koranda
“look bad.” Id. at ¶ 32.
• When Koranda forgot to post the agenda for the April
21, 2014 Fair Board meeting, the Fair Board meeting had to be
canceled. Koranda blamed Plaintiff for his mishap and
bad-mouthed Plaintiff to the Fair Board members.
• Koranda required Plaintiff to attend an employment
function that, unbeknownst to Plaintiff, was a speed dating
event. The event was “demeaning and degrading to
Plaintiff especially as she was engaged to be married.”
Id. at ¶ 36 Koranda watched the event and made
jokes and other derogatory comments. He did not require any
of the male employees to participate.
• Previously, Plaintiff had been approved by the Fair
Board members or Koranda for vacation starting May 9, 2014
until May 16, 2014, for her scheduled wedding and honeymoon.
“In an effort to cause Plaintiff additional harm and
emotional distress in retaliation for her complaints against
Koranda, ” Cleveland and Stacy directed Assistant
District Attorney Jim Robertson to inform Plaintiff that
Stacy and Cleveland did not want her around and she had 10
minutes to gather her personal items. Id. at ¶
39. Plaintiff alleges that this event took place on May 5,
2014, and was intentionally designed by Cleveland and Stacy
to disrupt her upcoming wedding. ADA Robertson refused to
discuss Plaintiffs termination with her asserting that she
was an at will employee and could be let go at any time.
• At the direction of Koranda, Cleveland, and Stacy, a
sheriffs deputy was waiting outside to escort Plaintiff from
the public property
• Plaintiff was not terminated by the Fair Board, no
meeting was called, and the Fair Board members were
purportedly unaware of the personnel action taken by ADA
Robertson at the direction of Cleveland, Stacy, and/or
Koranda. Fipps and Young knew or had reason to know of the
actions by Cleveland, Stacy, and/or Koranda, but did nothing
to intervene, even though they were aware that Plaintiff
could only be terminated by the Fair Board.
• Plaintiff was denied due process and any form of
appeal. No. individual county commissioner or individual Fair
Board member had any authority to terminate Plaintiffs
employment. No. open meeting was conducted where Plaintiffs
employment or termination was an agenda item. Defendants,
acting in concert, intentionally denied Plaintiff due process
by circumventing the established procedures for employees
hired by the Fair Board.
• Defendants knew of Plaintiffs closely approaching
wedding and scheduled vacation. Acting in concert, they
“sought to punish and intentionally cause Plaintiff
emotional distress by creating the termination the few days
before her wedding plans.” Id. at ¶ 45.
• When the Fair Board members attempted to discuss
Plaintiffs termination at an open meeting, Cleveland, Stacy,
Fipps, and Young falsely advised that the Fair Board had no
authority. Fipps and Young, pursuant to their agreement with
Stacy and Cleveland, did not put the termination matter on
the agenda and allowed Plaintiffs termination to become
effective. The other Fair Board members were intentionally
misled by Fipps and Young.
• On May 28, 2014, Koranda was asked to resign because
of the hostility created during his short term of employment
and the manner in which Plaintiff was terminated.
• Plaintiff could only be terminated by the Fair Board
pursuant to the Oklahoma Open Meeting Act
• Plaintiff asserts that Koranda was investigated for
similar harassing conduct with younger female employees at
his previous employment with the Norman Convention and
Visitors Bureau. Stacy and Cleveland were aware of
Koranda’s history before he was hired.
• Plaintiff asserts that her employment was terminated
by Koranda, Stacy, and Cleveland because of her gender and in
retaliation. Plaintiff told Stacy, the Fair Board, and
Koranda that there was not a proper fairgrounds inventory,
which was Koranda’s responsibility. Plaintiff provided
Koranda with a list of things he was doing wrong, including
taking people out to eat using Fair Board funds, transporting
his children in a county vehicle, and allowing a friend to
have a free booth at the Norman Farmers Market absent
approval from the Fair Board.
asserts federal claims against Defendants under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 for violations of her substantive and procedural
due process rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments,
her right to associate with members of the Fair Board under
the First Amendment, gender and sexual discrimination under
Title VII, and violations of her Oklahoma constitutional
rights. Plaintiff also asserts state law claims against
Defendants for conspiracy to commit intentional torts,
tortious interference with prospective economic advantage,