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Court of Civil Appeals of Oklahoma, Division Three
April 21, 2000, Filed
Case No. 93,684
[**511] Opinion by Larry Joplin, Judge:
[*1] Plaintiff/Appellant Paul Brandon Bittle (Bittle) seeks review of the trial court's order granting judgment to Defendants/Appellees Oklahoma City University, a not-for-profit corporation (OCU), and the Board of Trustees of Oklahoma City University (Board), in Bittle's action to recover damages for alleged fraud, breach of contract and negligence after OCU dismissed Bittle for academic reasons. In this proceeding, Bittle asserts judgment for OCU and Board should be reversed because (1) his initial petition stated a valid claim for breach of contract, (2) the evidence on summary judgment relative to his claims was conflicting, and (3) the trial court erred in denying him both further discovery prior to ruling and permission [***2] to amend to cure any defect in pleading.
[*2] OCU is a private university, organized as a not-for-profit corporation and governed by Board. OCU admitted Bittle to the OCU Law School for the fall semester of 1997. But, when Bittle's cumulative grade-point average fell below the minimum required by OCU academic standards after the fall semester of 1998, OCU dismissed him. Pursuant to OCU policy, Bittle sought administrative review, but upon consideration of the matter, OCU denied him relief.
[*3] Bittle then commenced the instant action against OCU and Board. In particular, Bittle alleged that his constitutional law professor frequently arrived late for class, discharged class early, or canceled class altogether; that neither the professor nor OCU provided make-up classes or academic counseling to assist students as OCU implicitly agreed; and that the failures of the professor (OCU's agent), OCU and Board in these particulars caused his academic dismissal. Bittle also alleged that OCU's internal administrative appellate procedure denied him the fundamental protection of constitutional due process, including denial of the right to examine the evidence against him, 1 to present evidence [***3] on his own behalf, and even the right to a hearing at all. On these facts, [**512] Bittle asserted claims for fraud, breach of contract, tortious breach of contract, negligence, unjust enrichment and violation of his right to due process, seeking actual and punitive damages.
[*4] OCU filed a motion to dismiss, asserting Bittle's failure -- on the alleged facts of the case -- to state an actionable claim under any legally recognized theory of recovery. 2 Board filed a motion for summary judgment/motion to dismiss, asserting no liability -- as OCU's not-for-profit corporate governing body -- for any OCU act or omission of which Board had no knowledge or in which Board did not actively participate, and no contractual relationship between Bittle and Board. 3
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2000 OK CIV APP 66 *; 6 P.3d 509 **; 2000 Okla. Civ. App. LEXIS 22 ***; 71 O.B.A.J. 1651
PAUL BRANDON BITTLE, Plaintiff/Appellant, vs. OKLAHOMA CITY UNIVERSITY, a not-for-profit corporation, and the BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF OKLAHOMA CITY UNIVERSITY, Defendants/Appellees.
Subsequent History: [***1] Released for Publication April 21, 2000.
Prior History: APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF OKLAHOMA COUNTY, OKLAHOMA. HONORABLE DANIEL L. OWENS, JUDGE.
trial court, breach of contract, summary judgment, educational institution, motion to dismiss, material fact, amend, private educational institution, evidentiary material, asserting, summary judgment motion, present case, courts, constitutional due process, cause of action, disciplinary, contractual, malpractice, cognizable, discovery, pleadings
Civil Procedure, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Motions to Dismiss, Failure to State Claim, Dismissal, Involuntary Dismissals, Failure to State Claims, Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, General Overview, Opposing Materials, Judgments, Burdens of Proof, Motions for Summary Judgment, Appropriateness, Genuine Disputes, Supporting Materials, Materiality of Facts, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Summary Judgment Review, Standards of Review, Pretrial Matters, Continuances, Pleadings, Amendment of Pleadings, Discovery & Disclosure, Education Law, Civil Liability, Educational Malpractice, Torts, Malpractice & Professional Liability, Constitutional Law, Fundamental Rights, Procedural Due Process, Scope of Protection, Student Discipline, Disciplinary Proceedings, Due Process, Students, Equal Protection, Appeals & Reviews