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Date: 06-23-2013

Case Style: Pamela Kirkes v. Independent School District No. 10, Pushmataha County, OK aka Clayton Public Schools

Case Number: CJ-2011-49

Judge: Jana Key Wallace

Court: District Court, Pushmataha County, Oklahoma

Plaintiff's Attorney: Brecken Allyn Wagner

Defendant's Attorney: Eric D. Wade and Cheryl A. Dixon

Description: Pamela Kirkes sued Independent School District No. 10, Pushmataha County, OK aka Clayton Public Schools, Jim Dominick and Judd Matthes claiming:

1. That all acts complained of herein occurred in Pushmatah County, State of Oklahoma. That Plaintiff provided proper notice to the Defendant Independent School District No.10 Pushmataha County, Oklahoma, a/k/a the Clayton Public Schools in accordance with O.S. Title 51 § 151 on the 8th day of November, 2011. More than the statutory ninety days has passed for the Defendant to submit an approval or denial of the Plaintiffs claim in accordance with O.S. Title 51 § 157, and Plaintiff has brought the foregoing action within one hundred and eighty days after the Defendant has failed to provide an approval or denial of the Plaintiffs claim. The underlying cause of action occurred in Pushmataha County and Jurisdiction and Venue is proper in this court.


1. That Pamela Kirkes has been employed by the Clayton Public Schools since August 2002, and overt the course of her employment she has taught high school and has been a successful coach to the Clayton Public Schools speech, drama and debate team.

2. During the school year 2009 to 2010, the Plaintiff’s personnel file began to be marred with unfounded and frivolous allegations of misconduct.

3. In March of 2010 a student was told by the principal, Mr. Mathis, that he had “put in a letter for her not to be rehired next year”, and that “Everybody on the board (school board) is up for it. Now we just have to find a reason for her not to be rehired.”

4. On another occasion Principal Matthis advised the Plaintiff that, “he had just gotten her in trouble.” after she returned from an authorized school trip. He advised her that she had violated an administrative directive by taking more students in a particular vehicle than was allowed, this was after he authorized her to do that very thing.

5. In July, 2010 after the conclusion of the school year, and after a recommendation to non-reemploy had been rescinded, Ms. Kirkes was advised that she would be removed from her position as Speech coach with its extra duty pay, then reassigned to the 4th grade.

6. Mrs. Kirkes was advised by the new Superintendent, Randall Erwin, that her removal was due to allegations of improprieties with boys on speech trips, as told to him by former superintendent Jim Dominik and all of the school board members.

7. Said allegations were never presented to the Plaintiff, or explained in any form other than they existed.

8. The Plaintiff did not report to her new assignment and was terminated in November of 2011.


9. That Plaintiff incorporates by reference paragraphs one through eight of this document herein.

10. According to Title 12 0.5. § 1441, Libel is defined as follows: “Libel is a false or malicious unprivileged publication by writing, printing, picture or effigy or other fixed representation to the eye, which exposes any person to public hatred, contempt, ridicule or obloquy, or which tends to deprive him of public confidence, or to injure him in his occupation, or any malicious publication as aforesaid, designed to blacken or vilir the memory of one who is dead, and tending to scandalize his surviving relatives or friends.

11. That Principal Matthes admitted to a student that he had “put in a letter for her not to be rehired”, in reference to the Plaintiff, Pamela Kirkes.

12. Principal Matthes indicated that he had submitted such a writing to the Clayton Public Schools Board, but he provided no reason for his action, and later in his conversation admitted, “now we just need to find a reason for her not to be rehired.”

13. The letter submitted, as witnessed by Superintendent Dominick, contained defamatory and libelous statements regarding Ms. Kirkes and was submitted for the express purpose to injure her position within the School.

14. Mi. Matthes and Mr. Dominick committed these acts while serving in a position as the Plaintiff’s supervisor and the confidence of the school board.

15. Said claims of “dishonesty under certain circumstances, and under others, job- related malfeasance, which are implications that directly tend to injure one with respect to one’s profession, trade or business.” Anson v. Erlaner Minerals and Metals. Inc., Okl. App., 702 P.2d 393 (1985).

16. As a result of the actions of Mr. Matthis the board was persuaded to reassign the Plaintiff to an unacceptable position, cause her embarrassment, and preclude her from obtaining employment in a similar position at another school.


17. That Plaintiff incorporates by reference paragraphs one through sixteen of this document herein.

18. That the Clayton Public Schools by and through its employees Matthis and Dominik stated that the Plaintiff had been alleged to have been involved in a sexual misconduct with unnamed male students.

19. That the said allegation was never founded or presented to the Plaintiff with any evidence, but rather used as a basis for her dismissal from her position as high school teacher and speech coach and reassigned to the fourth grade.

20. That the statements made by the defendants are actionable per se.

21. That the statements were made with the intent to cause harm and embarrassment to the Plaintiff.

22. That as a result of such statements the Plaintiff was financially injured and embarrassed in her professional capacity and in the community.


23. That Plaintiff incorporates by reference paragraphs one through twenty-two of this document herein.

24. That Plaintiff was denied her right to defend herself from false allegations of sexual misconduct.

25. Plaintiff was advised that some allegations of sexual misconduct had arisen by the superintendent, and when she inquired as to the content of such claims she was excluded from any further explanation.

26. Plaintiff was denied the opportunity to defend any aforementioned claims of sexual misconduct and demoted and stripped of her position without any form of due process.

27. That as a result of her denial of due process Defendants were permitted to reassign Ms. Kirkes without formal discussion or appeal.


28. That Plaintiff incorporates by reference paragraphs one through twenty-seven of this document herein.

29. That Defendant, Clayton Public Schools continued to retain an employee by the name of Judd Matthis and Jim Dominick after it knew or should have known that they had taken part in an effort to defame and injure another employee through libelous and slanderous statements.

30. That Defendant is directly responsible for the actions of its employees and any intentional torts that they may have committed.

31. That due to the negligent action of the Defendant, Clayton Public Schools, Ms. Kirkes was subjected to injurious and embarrassing statements of untruth.


32. That Plaintiff incorporates by reference paragraphs one through thrity-one of this document herein.

33. That Plaintiff requests that she be awarded exemplary damages in an amount not to exceed $500,000.00.


34. That Plaintiff incorporates by reference paragraphs one through thirty-three of this document herein.

35. That Defendants by their actions has caused the Plaintiff to suffer severe emotional distress.

36. That Plaintiff suffers from anxiety associated with the belief that others in the community perceive her as some form of sexual offender and failure in her profession.

37. That as a result of the actions of the Defendants Ms. Kirkes has sustained and incurred substantial mental, emotional, and financial stress which continues to affect her daily life.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff requests that she be awarded a) damages for Libel not to exceed $25,000.00 (dollars); b) damages for Slander not to exceed $25,000.00 (dollars); c) damages for Violation of Due Process not to exceed $25,000.00 (dollars); d) damages for the negligent retention of an employee for the actual damages of her 2010-2011 contract e) punitive and/or exemplary damages in an amount not to exceed $500,000.00; f) damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress in an amount in excess of $10,000.00; and for her attorney’s fees and costs and any such other relief as the court deems just and equitable.

Defendants moved to dismiss.

Outcome: The Plaintiff, Pamela Kirkes, hereby dismisses all claims against Defendant Independent School District No. 10 of Pushmataha County, Oklahoma, a/k/a Clayton Public Schools, Jim Dominick, and Judd Matthes, with prejudice to refiling.

Plaintiff's Experts:

Defendant's Experts:


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