Hall v. GEO Group, Inc.

Plaintiff-appellant Walter Hall was allegedly injured while being transported to a medical appointment by a private prison facility, GEO. Two years and two months later, he filed a lawsuit against it for negligence. GEO filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the statute of limitations had expired and the lawsuit was untimely. Hall insisted that the limitation period was tolled due to his injury. The trial court granted GEO's motion for summary judgment and Hall appealed. Upon review, the Supreme Court held that pursuant to 57 O.S. 2011 sec. 566.4, compliance with the notice provisions of the Governmental Tort Claims Act (GTCA) is required to bring a tort action against a private correctional facility. Because Hall did not comply with the GTCA and the notice of claim requirement of the GTCA was only tolled 90 days due to incapacity from an injury. The case was appropriately dismissed as untimely filed. View "Hall v. GEO Group, Inc." on Justia Law

In re: Initiative Petition No. 397, State Question No. 767

On Sept. 18, 2013, Initiative Petition No. 397, State Question 767 was filed with Secretary of State. The Initiative Petition proposes amendments to the State Constitution with an ultimate primary purpose of constructing storm shelters for schools. Proponents also filed with the Secretary of State a proposed ballot title for their proposed Initiative. The Oklahoma Attorney General disagreed with Proponents' ballot title and then prepared and filed with the Secretary of State a new ballot title for the Initiative. The Proponents disagreed with the Attorney General's version and appealed to the Supreme Court for review. The Supreme Court held that: (1) a proponent of an initiative petition must file or submit a copy of the initiative petition and a copy of the ballot title to the Attorney General when the proponent files the initiative petition and ballot title with the Secretary of State; (2) the Attorney General must file a response to a ballot title within five business days from the date the ballot title is filed; (3) the Attorney General's section 9(D) response to a ballot title is statutorily effective although the Attorney General's response was filed two days late; (4) a proponent of an initiative who challenges a ballot title prepared by the Attorney General has the burden to show that the Attorney General's ballot title is legally incorrect, or is not impartial, or fails to accurately reflect the effects of the proposed initiative; (5) the Attorney General's ballot title challenged in this proceeding was legally correct, impartial, and accurately reflected the effects of the proposed initiative; (6) when a ballot title appeal has been made, a proponent's ninety-day period of time to collect signatures commences when the ballot title appeal is final. View "In re: Initiative Petition No. 397, State Question No. 767" on Justia Law

Tulsa Stockyards, Inc. v. Clark

Petitioner Tulsa Stockyards, Inc. challenged the constitutionality of the CompSource Mutual Insurance Company Act (85 O.S.Supp.2013, secs. 375.1 et seq.). The Act required CompSource Oklahoma be restructured to do business as a domestic mutual insurer without capital stock or shares under the name of CompSource Mutual Insurance Company effective January 1, 2015. Petitioner contended that CompSource was a state agency and its money and other assets, valued at approximately $265,000,000.00, were assets of the people of Oklahoma. Converting CompSource from a department of the State to an independent, licensed mutual insurance company without provision for the State to retain ownership of CompSource's assets, petitioner argued, was contrary to the prohibition against gifts of public money, the prohibition against interference with contracts, and the prohibition against money being paid out of the State Treasury except by appropriation. Upon review of the matter, the Supreme Court concluded that CompSource's money and other assets were held in trust for the benefit of the employers and employees protected by the insurance issued by CompSource, the Court's "Moran" opinion remained sound law, and the Oklahoma Constitution did not prohibit the Legislature from placing CompSource's money and other assets in trust with a domestic mutual insurer. View "Tulsa Stockyards, Inc. v. Clark" on Justia Law

Ellison v. Campbell

Plaintiffs-appellees Jackie and Marcia Ellison, along with Richard M. Healy, P.C., Jayne Jarnigan Robertson, P.C., and Michael J. Blascheke, P.C., sued defendants-appellants, Michael D. Campbell and M.D. Campbell & Associates, L.P., for breach of contract. Plaintiffs alleged that Campbell failed to render a defensible expert opinion in underlying litigation in Canadian County, and subsequently abandoned the task for which he was hired. Campbell counterclaimed for "uncompensated professional services." A jury returned a verdict in plaintiffs' favor. Based on the jury's verdict, the trial court entered judgment for the plaintiffs for $408,748.68, plus statutory interest. Campbell filed a motion for new trial or, in the alternative, a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. After hearing argument, the trial court overruled the motions and Campbell appealed. The Court of Civil Appeals reversed, finding that the breach of contract cause of action failed because plaintiffs did not prove their case by presenting an expert witness. Upon review, the Supreme Court found that in this case the expert witness indicted his own performance in the underlying matter: "Supporting testimony made it clear that Campbell did not produce a document which accurately represented the state of the groundwater underlying the Ellisons' property or the source of its pollution. Any lay person could consider the testimony presented and conclude that the Ellisons did not receive the services for which they contracted. The expert witness's testimony was such that any reasonable juror might question his candidness." Under these unique facts, it was unnecessary for plaintiffs to rely upon expert testimony to prevail in their breach of contract claim. View "Ellison v. Campbell" on Justia Law

MacDonald v. Corporate Integris Health

Plaintiff filed suit against her former employer alleging the employer violated both federal law and the Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination Act (OADA) in terminating her employment. Specifically, she alleged her employer discriminated against her on the basis of her age and gender. Anticipating employer's defense that section 1350 of the OADA limited damages for discrimination claims, plaintiff alleged the damage limitations in the OADA were unconstitutional under Oklahoma's prohibition against special laws. Citing the lack of Oklahoma precedent on this issue, the district court certified the question of whether the damage provisions in section 1350 of the OADA are unconstitutional under Article V, sections 46 and 59 of the Oklahoma Constitution to the Supreme Court. Upon review, the high court held that the damage provisions in section 1350 were not unconstitutional. View "MacDonald v. Corporate Integris Health" on Justia Law

City of Jenks v. Stone

Plaintiff City of Jenks sought a declaration that the defendant, a probationary police trainee employed by plaintiff, was an at-will employee and that 11 O.S.2011, secs. 50-123, did not require plaintiff to provide a cause for the defendant's dismissal or provide him with a board of review hearing. The district court found that plaintiff met the exception to 50-123's requirement that it establish a board of review because it had entered into a collective bargaining agreement and that defendant was an at-will employee who was not entitled to a post-termination hearing under the statute, the collective bargaining agreement, or general principles of due process. The Supreme Court affirmed: "the Legislature did not intend to give probationary police trainees the right to be fired only for cause and a post-termination hearing before a board of review. When the Legislature enacted the 1995 amendment redefining 'member' in section 50-101(6), it must have overlooked the impact the new definition would have on section 50-123(B). This resulted in an ambiguity as to whether a probationary police trainee could be fired without cause and without a right to post-termination hearing. We resolve that ambiguity by finding that the term 'member' as it is defined in section 50-123 does not include a probationary police trainee." View "City of Jenks v. Stone" on Justia Law

Guffey v. Ostonakulov

Oklahoma resident Plaintiff-Appellant Samantha Guffey filed a lawsuit against Defendants Odil Ostonakulov and Motorcars of Nashville, Inc. (MNI), a resident of Tennessee and a Tennessee corporation, respectively, in the District Court of Oklahoma County. Guffey alleged fraud and violations of the Oklahoma Consumer Protection Act in connection with her purchase of a vehicle from Defendants using eBay. The trial court dismissed the action because it determined Oklahoma lacked jurisdiction over Defendants. Guffey appealed. Upon review, the Supreme Court held that because Defendants possessed sufficient minimum contacts with the State of Oklahoma, the district court possessed in personam jurisdiction over Defendants. View "Guffey v. Ostonakulov" on Justia Law

Gentges v. Oklahoma State Election Board

Registered Voter Delilah Gentges sued the Oklahoma State Election Board in the district court of Tulsa County to prevent implementation of SB 692, commonly known as the Voter ID Act. Gentges alleged she had standing as a taxpayer and as a registered voter in Tulsa County. The State Election Board specially appeared in the district court of Tulsa County and asked the court to dismiss this suit. The State Election Board contended Gentges lacked standing and Tulsa County was not the proper venue for a suit against a State agency. The district court of Tulsa County rejected these challenges and the State Election Board asked the Supreme Court to assume original jurisdiction to prohibit the district court of Tulsa County from proceeding further. The Supreme Court granted partial relief by ordering the district court of Tulsa County to transfer the case to the district court of Oklahoma County. Gentges contended the Legislature violated the Oklahoma Constitution by submitting the Voter ID Act to a popular vote without first presenting it to the Governor for veto consideration. She also contended that requiring voters to present certain forms of identification in order to vote would "interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage." After review of the parties' summary judgment paperwork, the trial court ruled: (1) the Oklahoma Constitution does not require presentment of a legislative referendum to the Governor before the referendum is placed on the ballot for a vote; and (2) Gentges lacked standing. Gentges appealed. The Supreme Court concluded after its review that the trial court was correct in ruling the Voter ID Act was validly enacted, but reversed the trial court on the issue of Gentges' standing. The case was remanded for further proceedings. View "Gentges v. Oklahoma State Election Board" on Justia Law

Muratore v. Oklahoma ex rel. Dept. of Public Safety

Plaintiff-Appellee Mark Muratore was arrested for driving under the influence. He submitted to a breathalyzer test, administered using the Intoxilyzer 8000. As a result of the test, the Department of Public Safety revoked plaintiff's driver's license for one year, and he appealed the revocation to the District Court of Oklahoma County on issues of the admissibility of the breathalyzer test. The trial court vacated the revocation of plaintiff's driver's license, finding that the Board of Tests had no rules in place governing maintenance procedures for the Intoxilyzer 8000 and that the manufacturer's certificate of calibration for this particular Intoxliyzer 8000 and the supplier's certificate of analysis for the gas canister used as a reference method for the Intoxilyzer 8000 were inadmissible hearsay. The Court of Civil Appeals reversed. After its review, the Supreme Court concluded the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to admit the manufacturer's certificate of calibration and the supplier's certificate of analysis. Furthermore, the Court found that the Department of Public Safety did not meet its threshold burden of proving all the facts necessary to sustain the revocation of plaintiff's license, and the record supported the trial court's decision to vacate the revocation of plaintiff's license. View "Muratore v. Oklahoma ex rel. Dept. of Public Safety" on Justia Law

Butler v. Jones

Petitioner-Appellee, Jerry Butler pled guilty to two counts of "Sexual Abuse of a Minor Child" and received two five-year deferred sentences which ran consecutively. Sometime thereafter, Butler began registration under the Sex Offenders Registration Act. The district court in Sequoyah County issued an order expunging Butler's plea from the record, deleting all references to his name from the docket sheet, deleting the public index of the filing of the charge, and providing no information concerning the file shall (unless ordered by the court). Butler filed a Petition for Injunction to permanently enjoin the Respondent-Appellant, Justin Jones ex rel., State of Oklahoma ex rel., Oklahoma Department of Corrections from requiring him to continue registering under SORA. He argued requiring him to register violated his rights to equal protection of the laws and to due process of law. The Department filed a Motion to Dismiss alleging Butler's deferred sentences and expungement were unlawful. The district court granted a permanent injunction against the Department, finding Butler's case presented an unusual and narrow circumstance and he was indeed denied equal protection of the law. The Supreme Court disagreed with the district court and reversed and remanded its decision for further proceedings. View "Butler v. Jones" on Justia Law