Justia Oklahoma Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law
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Oklahoma counties were required to house state prison inmates in certain instances. In turn, Oklahoma law required the state to reimburse counties twenty-seven Dollars ($27.00) per day per state inmate for the cost of housing, unless the "actual daily cost" exceeded $27. The primary issue before the Oklahoma Supreme Court concerned the meaning of "actual daily cost" as provided in 57 O.S. 2017, § 38.2. The Court held "actual daily cost" included both consumable costs as well as those additional costs that were directly attributable to housing a DOC inmate. View "Oklahoma Dept. of Corrections v. Byrd" on Justia Law

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Petitioners Debbie Leo d/b/a Miller Lake Retreat, LLC, Larinda McClellan, Louise Redman Trust, Walter Myrl Redman, and Kenneth Roberts appealed a district court's order affirming the Oklahoma Water Resources Board's (the OWRB) final order granting a permit to The City of Oklahoma City (the City) to divert stream water from the Kiamichi River in Pushmataha County, Oklahoma. The City cross-appealed the district court's order denying its motion to dismiss Petitioners' petition for judicial review for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The City contended Petitioners' failure to name the City as a respondent in their petition for judicial review of the OWRB's order was a fatal, jurisdictional flaw under the Oklahoma Administrative Procedures Act, (OAPA). The Oklahoma Supreme Court held that 75 O.S.2011, § 318(B)(2) required that the agency (here, the OWRB) be named as a respondent in the caption of the petition for review for the district court to acquire jurisdiction to review a final agency order. However, Section 318(B)(2) of the OAPA did not require the City be named as a respondent in the petition. Therefore, the district court's order finding it had jurisdiction to review the final agency order was affirmed. The Supreme Court further held the district court properly applied the Four Points of Law in O.A.C. § 785:20-5-4, including using the OWRB's calculation of available stream water and evaluation of beneficial use, which was based on substantial evidence in the record, with no findings of prejudicial error. Therefore, the district court's order affirming the OWRB's order was affirmed. View "Leo v. Oklahoma Water Resources Board" on Justia Law

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The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) brought an original proceeding to the Oklahoma Supreme Court asking the Court approve revenue bonds to finance the construction of three turnpike projects, update and repair turnpike facilities and infrastructure, refund prior revenue bonds and notes, and pay other costs. Protestants challenged the proposed bonds on several grounds, arguing that the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority lacked legislative authority to construct the three turnpikes. Title 69 O.S.2021, § 1718 provided that if the Court was satisfied that the bonds have been properly authorized in accordance with Article 17 of the Oklahoma Highway Code of 1968, 69 O.S.2021, § 1701 et seq., the Court would render its written opinion approving the revenue bonds. The OTA properly exercised its authority to determine the route for the South Extension. Further, the OTA has legislative authority pursuant to 69 O.S.2021, §§ 1705(f) and 1709(A) to issue additional bonds to finalize the Loop. Accordingly, the Supreme Court approved the revenue bonds. View "In the Matter of the Application of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority" on Justia Law

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TOCH, LLC, the owner and operator of Aloft Hotel, alleged that the Tulsa Tourism Improvement District No. 1 was allegedly improperly created because fifty percent or more of the affected hotel owners protested in writing prior to its creation. City of Tulsa and Tulsa Hotel Partners sought summary judgment on this issue and disputed this material fact by submitting affidavits to disprove TOCH's allegation. The trial court granted summary judgment to the City, but the Oklahoma Supreme Court found the trial court erred when it made a factual determination on this controverted fact. "Weighing disputed evidence is not proper on summary judgment." The trial court's decision was therefore reversed. View "TOCH, LLC v. City of Tulsa, et al." on Justia Law

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Petitioners filed this original proceeding objecting to two pieces of legislation passed by the Oklahoma legislature during the 2022 legislative session: S.B. 1503 and H.B. 4327. Both acts prohibited abortion after certain cutoff points while providing for a civil enforcement mechanism; both acts prohibited enforcement by the State, its subdivisions, and its agents--instead, the bills created a cause-of-action maintainable by any person for performing, or aiding and abetting the performance of, an abortion in violation of the acts. Petitioners challenged the bills on many grounds, but the Oklahoma Supreme Court did not address them here. The Court held both bills were unconstitutional; the Court found it unnecessary to address the Petitioners' request for injunctive relief and/or writ of prohibition or Respondents' claims that Petitioners did not have a justiciable claim against them. Petitioners' request for injunctive relief and/or a writ of prohibition was denied. View "Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice v. Oklahoma" on Justia Law

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A group of Oklahoma landowners petitioned for a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief, claiming that the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority violated the Open Meeting Act, 25 O.S.2021, §§ 301 to 314, regarding its notice to the public of the ACCESS Oklahoma Program. Both parties sought summary judgment. The district court rendered summary judgment in the landowners' favor, finding that the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority willfully violated the Open Meeting Act. The Oklahoma Supreme Court held that the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority gave sufficient notice of the agenda items that the landowners challenged. Furthermore, the Court found that the lack of notice regarding the announcement of the ACCESS Oklahoma Program at the February 2022 meeting did not violate the Open Meeting Act because the announcement was for informational purposes only. View "Hirschfeld, et al. v. Oklahoma Turnpike Authority" on Justia Law

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Appellants Pike Off OTA, Inc., Amy Cerato, Mike Leary, Vince Dougherty, Terrie Club, Mike Club, Twyla Smith, Cali Coward, Karen Powell, Mike Powell, Cedric Leblanc, Darla Leblanc, Claudette Wispe, Mark Dooling, Nate Piel, Kara Piel, Nikki Whitson, John Whitson, Robert Wallace, Chelsea Wallace, Robin Stead, Anna Olson, Tassie Hirschfeld, Ice Blast LLC, and Janette Ward (collectively Appellants) brought claims challenging the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority's (OTA) authority to construct three proposed turnpikes: the Tri-City Connector, the East-West Connector, and the South Extension. The OTA moved to dismiss these claims, arguing that Appellants' claims were within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The district court granted the OTA's motion to dismiss, and Appellants appealed. The Supreme Court concurred it had exclusive original jurisdiction to determine whether the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority is authorized to construct the proposed turnpikes in the bond validation matter. The Court further ruled that appellants failed to establish that they had a clear legal right to the injunctive and/or mandamus relief sought. View "Pike Off OTA v. Okla. Turnpike Auth." on Justia Law

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Respondent Oklahoma State Board of Equalization, assessed an ad valorem tax concerning on the property of Complainant Terral Telephone Company. The Company protested the assessment, and the Board moved to dismiss the protest, alleging the protest was non-compliant and untimely. The Court of Tax Review agreed and ruled that the protest did not comply with the statutes and rules necessary to invoke its jurisdiction. The Company appealed the ruling to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which after review, affirmed the Court of Tax Review. View "Terral Telephone Co. v. Oklahoma St. Bd. of Equalization" on Justia Law

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Erasmo Paredes sustained an on-the-job injury in late 2019. He continued working for his employer, Schlumberger Technology Corp., until January 30, 2020. His employer's insurance carrier, Travelers Indemnity Company of America, provided voluntary medical treatment to Paredes from January 3, 2020, through February 14, 2020. Paredes's CC-Form 3 Claim for Compensation was filed on December 3, 2020, alleging an injury date of December 29, 2019. This claim was filed ten months after Paredes's last medical treatment, but within one year from the date of his injury. Travelers's counsel entered an appearance in the Workers' Compensation case on December 22, 2020. On February 18, 2021, the affidavit of Travelers's claims handler was filed with attachments indicating Travelers provided medical treatment to Paredes in the total amount of $1,371.47. No disability benefits were paid. On the same date, counsel for Travelers filed the CC-Form 10 Answer and Notice of Contested Issues on behalf of Schlumberger raising the defense of statute of limitations pursuant to Section 69(A)(1) of Title 85 A. 1 Schlumberger also denied compensable injuries, alleged pre-existing conditions pursuant to 85A O.S. Supp. 2019, § 2(9)(b)(6), and denied benefits. An ALJ issued an order that was filed on May 13, 2021, concluding that Paredes's claim was not barred by Section 69(A)(1). Schlumberger appealed to the Workers' Compensation Commission ("Commission"), and the parties filed written arguments. Oral argument before the Commission was held on January 14, 2022. The Commission, sitting en banc, affirmed the Decision of the ALJ by order filed January 18, 2022. Schlumberger appealed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court seeking review of the Commission's interpretation of 85A O.S. Supp. 2019, § 69(A)(1). Finding no error in the Commission's interpretation, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Schlumberger Technology Corp. v. Travelers Indemnity Co. of America" on Justia Law

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In 2018, ONEOK Arbuckle II Pipeline, LLC began construction of a natural gas liquid pipeline to transport Oklahoma production to the interstate market. The pipeline required electricity to operate a series of pump stations, including the Binger II Pump Station. The location for the proposed Binger II was in the certified territory of CKenergy Electric Cooperative, Inc., which has exclusive rights to provide electricity in the area pursuant to the Retail Electric Supplier Certified Territory Act. Relying on the large-load exception to the RESCTA, OG&E submitted a bid to provide service to the Binger II, which ONEOK accepted, and the parties contracted for service. CKenergy appealed this contract to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission asserting that it was a violation of its exclusive rights under the RESCTA. The Commission enjoined OG&E's service, concluding that the meaning of "extending its service" in section 158.25(E) limited the manner or mechanism which OG&E could use to provide service under the large-load exception. OG&E and ONEOK appealed, the Oklahoma Supreme Court retained both appeals, and consolidated the cases. The Supreme Court held that section 158.25(E) allowed OG&E to extend its service to large loads in the manner proposed. Therefore, the Commission's order enjoining OG&E was vacated and remanded for further proceedings. View "Okla. Gas & Electric Co. v. State ex rel. Okla. Corp. Comm'n" on Justia Law