Tuesday, February 05, 2008

W.D. Okla. Dismisses Sec. 1983 Claim against Jail Due to the Naming of Wrong Entity

Per Daugomah v. Kay County Jail, Slip Copy, 2008 WL 281553 (W.D. Okla. Jan. 31, 2008):

Defendant Kay County Jail moves to dismiss Plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against it on the basis that the jail is not a separate legal entity subject to suit. . . . Rule 17(b), Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, provides that a non-corporate entity's capacity to be sued is determined by the law of the state in which the district court is located. In Oklahoma, each organized county can sue and be sued. Okla. Stat. tit. 19, § 1. The authority of each Oklahoma county is exercised by its board of county commissioners, Okla. Stat. tit. 19, § 3, and a lawsuit brought against a county must be filed against the board of county commissioners of the relevant county. Okla. Stat. tit. 19, § 4. A county jail in Oklahoma, as a subdivision of the county in which it is located, has no separate legal identity under Oklahoma law, and therefore Defendant Kay County Jail correctly posits that it cannot be sued in this Court. See Aston v. Cunningham, No. 99-4156, 2000 WL 796086, *4 n. 3 (10th Cir. June 21, 2000) (unpublished op.)(affirming dismissal of county jail as defendant in prisoner's § 1983 action on basis that “a detention facility is not a person or legally created entity capable of being sued”). Accordingly, Defendant Kay County Jail's Motion to Dismiss the cause of action against it pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) should be granted, and the cause of action against Defendant Kay County Jail should be dismissed with prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.


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