OU attorneys filed a motion to dismiss negligence claims against the university in a case filed by OU employee Levi Hilliard against the university and former administrator Jim “Tripp” Hall.
The motion, which was filed Tuesday and first reported by the Norman Transcript, argues that a statute known as the Oklahoma Governmental Tort Claims Act gives the university immunity from damages on the specific claims made against it. In this case, the specific claims allege that the university was negligent in its training, supervision and retention of Hall, and that OU did not follow its own policies following the alleged misconduct.
According to the motion, the act makes government entities, which the motion argues includes university boards, not liable for damages in these circumstances.
In addition to the motion’s argument that the Oklahoma Governmental Tort Claims Act gives the board immunity from damages in these circumstances, the motion also argues that under the statute, claim of damages must be made within one year of the loss a plaintiff alleges to have experienced.
The motion aims to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that Hall committed sexual assault and battery against Hilliard in 2017 and early 2018, and that university administrators knew about his alleged misconduct.
According to the lawsuit, former OU President David Boren — who was also accused of sexual misconduct in the spring by former OU employee Jess Eddy — was “knowledgeable of and permitted” Hall’s behavior. The suit also alleges “current and former OU employees, the Board’s officer(s) or its agent(s)” were aware of Hall’s history of behavior but were discouraged from reporting for fear of retaliation by senior officials who had witnessed Boren's and Hall’s misconduct.
The Transcript reported that Hilliard’s attorneys have 15 days to respond to the motion.
This story was corrected to change the name of the Oklahoma Government Tort Claims Act