United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
TIMOTHY D. DeGIUSTI Chief United States District Judge
the Court are two Motions to Dismiss filed by Defendant State
of Oklahoma (“Defendant State”) [Doc. No. 15] and
Defendants Dr. David Ralph (“Ralph”), Dr. James
South (“South”), and Dr. Tiffany Kessler
(“Kessler”) (hereinafter, collectively,
“Individual Defendants”) [Doc. No. 14]. Both seek
dismissal of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint [Doc.
No. 11] for failure to state a claim pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12 (b)(6). The Motions are fully briefed and at issue. The
Court will herein address all related filings.
time of the alleged events, Plaintiff was a student at
Southwestern Oklahoma State University's College of
Pharmacy (“SWOSU”). First Amended Complaint at 1,
¶ 1. On May 7, 2018, Plaintiff was placed on academic
suspension following events that transpired during the fall
semester of 2017 and continued into the spring semester of
2018. Id. at ¶ 5.
was diagnosed with ADHD and Panic Disorder with symptoms of
PTSD. Id. at 3, ¶ 7. During the fall semester
of 2017, Plaintiff's grandfather entered hospice care.
Id. at ¶ 13. The news of her grandfather's
impending death exacerbated Plaintiff's preexisting
condition. Id. at 4, ¶ 14. Plaintiff's
medical conditions had previously been manageable, and she
had been a good student. Id. at ¶ 16. The added
stressors proved too much, however, and Plaintiff's
grades suffered. Id.
South, and Ralph are employed by SWOSU and were allegedly the
decision makers as to the conduct at issue. Id. at
2, ¶ 4. Plaintiff avers to have met with faculty,
including Kessler, throughout the semester to express her
concerns and difficulties. Id. at ¶ 17.
Plaintiff allegedly told Kessler she was on Adderall and
Xanax. Id. Plaintiff further alleges her concerns
were seemingly reduced to slipping grades based on family
issues without further consideration of Plaintiff's
medical conditions. Id. at 4-5, ¶ 17.
failed three classes during the 2017 fall semester.
Id. at ¶ 20. Plaintiff requested accommodations
in the form of a withdrawal, and SWOSU denied that request.
Id. During the 2018 spring semester, Plaintiff
experienced a debilitating panic attack during a final
examination. Plaintiff fled the exam room before she could
complete the test. Id. at 6, ¶ 22. Due to
Plaintiff's failing grades, she was placed on academic
probation pursuant to the College of Pharmacy Student
Handbook: “A student who has a total of four course
failure [sic] in at least two different courses shall be
suspended.” Id. ¶ 23. The suspension was
officially communicated through a letter from Ralph.
Id. at ¶ 24.
submitted documentation notifying the administration of her
intent to appeal, and was contacted by Cindy Dougherty, Dean
of Students (“Dougherty”). Id. at ¶
25. Allegedly, Dougherty notified Plaintiff that her
disability had been formally documented and that she would
receive prospective accommodations. Id. at ¶
26. Kessler responded to the appeal by noting that while
prior accommodations had been made for Plaintiff on other
exams, Plaintiff did not contact Kessler to tell her she was
ill before the one she failed. Id. at 7, ¶ 27.
Further Plaintiff did not notify the room proctor of the
panic attack. Id. On May 21, 2018, Dougherty entered
medical withdrawals for Plaintiff's failed courses.
Id. at 8, ¶ 28. Despite entry of the hardship
withdrawals, Plaintiff was placed on academic probation as
SWOSU's “policy [was] strictly applied.”
Id. at ¶ 29. SWOSU granted Plaintiff
readmission on May 8, 2019.
First Amended Complaint alleges Defendant State violated
§ 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C.
§ 701 et seq. and asserts a state law breach of
contract claim against Defendant State. Plaintiff asserts
Individual Defendants were in violation of 42 U.S.C. §
12(b)(6) Failure to State a Claim
survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint
must contain enough facts that, when accepted as true,
“state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009); see Robbins v. Oklahoma, 519 F.3d 1242, 1247
(10th Cir. 2008). A claim has facial plausibility when the
court can draw “the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. In § 1983 cases, it is
particularly important “that the complaint make clear
exactly who is alleged to have done what to whom, to
provide each individual with fair notice as to the basis of
the claims against him or her.” See Robbins,
519 F.3d at 1249-50 (emphasis in original); see also
Smith v. United States, 561 F.3d 1090, 1104 (10th Cir.
Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint fails to state a due
process claim- either substantive or ...