United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
V. EAGAN IJNITI'D STATUS DISTRICT JUDGE
Amanda Kaye Phillips, who appears pro se, initiated
this action on January 3, 2020, by filing a civil complaint
(Dkt. # 2) and a motion for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis (Dkt. # 3). Based on representations in
Phillips' motion, the Court grants her request to proceed
without prepayment of the filing fee. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(a). Phillips nonetheless remains obligated to pay
the $350 filing fee in full when she is able to do so.
See Brown v. Eppler, 725 F.3d 1221, 1231 (10th Cir.
2013) (noting that authorization to proceed in forma
pauperis only excuses prepayment of the filing fee).
However, for the reasons further discussed below, the Court
finds the complaint shall be dismissed.
Complaint and allegations
who currently resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma, brings this action
against 26 defendants, invoking this Court's diversity
jurisdiction, under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Dkt. # 1, at 1;
Dkt. # 2, at 1-3. Sixteen defendants reside in, or have some
connection to, Texas: (1) the Austin Police Department, (2)
the Travis County Sheriff's Office, (3) the Travis County
District Attorney Office, (4) Gustavo Garcia, Jr., a
prosecutor with the Travis County District Attorney Office,
(5) the Texas Board of Nursing, (6) the Texas State Bar, (7)
the City of Austin, Texas, (8) Katherine Thomas, President of
the Texas Board of Nursing, (9) Travis County, Texas, (10)
Austin police officer C. Pierce, (11) Christopher Born, CEO
of Dell Children's Hospital, (12) the Seton Family of
Hospitals, (13) the Austin Community College District, (14)
Brittany Garrett, Dell Children's Hospital RN recruiter,
(15) Deb Brown, former Chief Nurse Officer at Dell
Children's Hospital, and (16) Ascension, a corporation
based in St. Louis, Missouri, that owns the Seton Family of
Hospitals, in Austin, Texas. Dkt. # 2, at 1-3, 7, 9. The
Court will hereafter refer to these defendants as the
defendants reside in, or have some connection to, Oklahoma:
(1) the David L. Moss Criminal Justice Center (DLMCJC),
a.k.a., the Tulsa County Jail,  (2) the Tulsa Emergency Medical
Services Authority, (3) Male Paramedic, (4) Female Paramedic,
(5) the Oklahoma Board of Nursing, (6) Carmen Nickel, MS, RN,
President of the Oklahoma Board of Nursing, (7) the U.S.
Marshals Service located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, (8) Male U.S.
Marshal 1, (9) Male U.S. Marshal 2, and (10) Male U.S.
Marshal 3. Dkt. # 2, at 1-2. The Court will hereafter refer
to the first six defendants as the “Oklahoma
defendants, ” and the last four defendants as the
describes her complaint as one asserting claims for
“retaliation, civil conspiracy, intentional infliction
of emotional distress, abuse of process, abuse of discretion,
fraudulent misrepresentation, extortion by color of official
right, RICO racketeering, [and] negligence.” Dkt. # 2,
at 1. In her civil cover sheet, Phillips also refers to
“Hobbs Act extortion under color of official right,
RICO, fraud” and 18 U.S.C. § 241, a criminal
statute prohibiting “conspiracy against rights.”
Dkt. # 1, at 1. In support of her request for $5 million
damages, Phillips recites a litany of abuses allegedly
perpetrated against her by defendants (and others) in Texas
and Oklahoma between December 2016 and December 2019. Dkt. #
2, at 3-10. Her factual allegations are disjointed, but
generally appear to relate to Phillips' employment,
legal, housing and health issues.
claims several of the Texas defendants and some of the
Oklahoma defendants have prevented, or are preventing, her
from finding employment as a nurse, both in Austin, Texas and
in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Dkt. # 2, at 3-4, 7-10.
to Phillips, sometime before January 2017, the Seton Family
of Hospitals, owned by Ascension, retaliated against her and
failed to rehire her after she quit her job. Id. at
3, 7. Phillips filed a complaint against Seton with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), in January 2017.
Id. at 3, 7. The EEOC offered mediation, but Seton
declined to participate. Id. at 3. Phillips filed a
lawsuit against Seton in March 2017, but Seton's
attorneys persuaded her to dismiss the lawsuit “in the
hopes that the lawyers would negotiate a job at Dell
Children's Hospital, ”—a job that never
materialized. Id. at 4. When Phillips filed
complaints against Seton's attorneys (neither of whom are
defendants in this case) in June 2018 and again in August
2019, the Texas State Bar “found no wrongdoing.”
Id. at 4, 7. Phillips filed a second EEOC complaint
against Seton in December 2019, adding allegations of age
discrimination, continued retaliation and fraudulent
misrepresentation. Dkt. # 2, at 7.
filed complaints and reports with various federal and state
agencies, against Seton and Ascension, alleging both
defendants (1) commit “charity fraud, ” because
Seton's CEO is overpaid while Seton's nurses are
underpaid, (2) commit HIPAA violations because Seton
employees' disclose patient information in emails, (3)
abuse the immigrant visa system by hiring nurses from
overseas, and (4) hire nurses from out of state when nurses
living in Austin are available for hire. Dkt. # 2, at 4, 7-9.
also filed reports with federal and state agencies alleging
that Seton, Ascension, the Austin Community College District,
the Texas Board of Nursing, and the Oklahoma Board of Nursing
commit “immigration abuse, charity fraud, general
frauding of individuals like [Phillips], Hobbs Act Extortion
by color of official right, RICO act racketeering, and
defrauding federal programs.” Dkt. # 2, at 8. Phillips
specifically alleges both nursing boards “perpetuat[e]
the widespread charity fraud” by “continu[ing] to
allow new nursing schools to open; allow existing schools to
increase their enrollments and graduations; [and] allow out
of state and international applica[nts] to obtain licensure,
thus drowning out job opportunities for nurses.”
Id. at 9. Phillips appears to allege that Travis
County and the City of Austin are implicated in the charity
fraud because they “have joint financial
partnerships” with Ascension, Seton, and Dell
Children's Hospital (which is owned by Seton), as well as
other large hospitals in Austin. Id.
entirely unclear from the complaint, Phillips appears to
assert some or all of her employment-related, fraud, and
conspiracy claims against Christopher Born, the CEO of Dell
Children's Hospital; Deb Brown, Dell's former Chief
Nurse Officer; and Brittany Garrett, Dell's RN Recruiter.
Dkt. # 2, at 1-4, 7-10.
Phillips appears to fault the Texas Board of Nursing and its
president, Carmen Nickel, for not renewing her nursing
license, and the Oklahoma Board of Nursing and its president,
Katherine Thomas, for not issuing her a nursing license,
thereby making it difficult for her to find a job as a nurse.
Id. at 9-10.
claims that the federal defendants, some of the Texas
defendants, and some of the Oklahoma defendants mistreated
her (1) when she filed a police report in Austin, Texas, (2)
when she was arrested in by federal authorities in Tulsa,
Oklahoma on a criminal charge filed against her in Travis
County, Texas, (3) when she was briefly incarcerated at the
DLMCJC, (4) when she was transported to the Travis County
Jail in Texas, and (5) when the Travis County prosecutor took
certain actions regarding her Texas criminal case. Dkt. # 2,
at 3-9. The specific allegations relating to each of these
incidents require some unpacking.
Police report in Austin
appears to assert an unspecified claim or claims against the
City of Austin, the Austin Police Department, and Austin
police officer C. Pierce based on their failure to follow up
on a police report she filed in December 2016. Dkt. # 2, at
1-3. Phillips alleges that she called police and filed a
report against a former neighbor who kicked in her car door
and left a note on her windshield, that she later
“declined to press charges, ” and that “no
charges were ever filed.” Id. at 3.
appears to assert one or more claims against the federal
defendants and some of the Oklahoma defendants arising from
her August 2018 arrest in Tulsa. Dkt. # 2, at 4-5.
to the complaint, at some point in time, the Travis County
District Attorney Office and Gustavo Garcia, Jr., a
prosecutor with that office, charged Phillips, in Travis
County, Texas, with “[m]aking a terroristic threat and
trying to influence the government.” Id. at 1,
4, 6. Sometime thereafter, Phillips moved to Tulsa.
Id. at 4. In August 2018, the U.S. Marshals Service
in Tulsa arrested Phillips on the Travis County charge.
Id. Phillips fainted and fell, hitting her head
against the side of the U.S. Marshal's truck.
Id. Two defendants, identified as Male U.S. Marshal
1 and Male U.S. Marshal 2, made fun of her for hitting her
head but called an ambulance. Id. at 5.
the ambulance arrived, Male Paramedic made fun of Phillips
when she told him about her medical and dental history; he
also told her she did not need to go to the hospital. Dkt. #
2, at 4-5. Female Paramedic found that Phillips had
tachycardia but failed to treat that condition before
releasing Phillips from care so that she could be transported
to jail. Id. at 5. After the paramedics
released her, Phillips was taken to the DLMCJC and
“placed on a federal hold for one week.”
filed a complaint with the “Oklahoma State Department
of Health Emergency Systems” against the Tulsa
Emergency Medical Services Authority and Male Paramedic. Dkt.
# 2, at 8. She alleges that she has not received “any
notice” regarding the status of her complaint.
Id. She further alleges that the Department of
Health contacted her by phone to ask questions, but she
declined to answer them on advice from her former attorney.
Dkt. # 2, at 8.
at the DLMCJC
appears to assert one or more unspecified claims against the
DLMCJC relating to the conditions of her brief confinement at
the DLMCJC in August 2018. Dkt. # 2, at 1, 5-6.
alleges she told the jail intake coordinator about the head
injury she sustained when she was arrested and her
pre-existing health conditions. Id. at 6. She also
told the coordinator that she was depressed, anxious and
fearful. Id. The coordinator told Phillips she would
receive a psychiatric visit, but that visit “never
her one-week confinement, Phillips noticed that the intake
area and bathrooms at the DLMCJC were “filthy, ”
the sink did not work, inmates had no soap or sanitizer,
inmates were fed “slop” (i.e., hot dogs and
bologna sandwiches), and inmates had no toilet paper for one
or two days. Dkt. # 2, at 6. Phillips alleges she may have
fallen one day in the medication line, but she is unsure if
she hit her head. Id. In any event, she was taken to
the medical unit, where she received substandard care, before
being “escorted back to the pod, where the inadequate