DOE v. UNIVERSITY INCARNATE WORD et al

Western District of Texas, txwd-5:2019-cv-00957

Defendants' ANSWER to [14] Amended Complaint by University Incarnate Word, University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine.

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS SAN ANTONIO DIVISION LAURA GUERRERO § § Plaintiff, § vs. § § UNIVERSITY OF THE INCARNATE § CIVIL ACTION NO.: 5:19-CV-00957-XR WORD AND UNIVERSITY OF THE § INCARNATE WORD SCHOOL OF § OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE § § Defendants. § DEFENDANTS' ANSWER AND AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES TO PLAINTIFF'S FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT TO THE HONORABLE JUDGE OF SAID COURT: Defendants University of the Incarnate Word and University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine ("UIW") file this Answer and Affirmative Defenses in response to Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint, and in support thereof, respectfully show the Court the following: ANSWER Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(b), Defendants deny each and every allegation in the Complaint except those allegations specifically admitted below in this section. I. NATURE OF THE SUIT1 1. Defendants admit the allegations contained in the first two sentences of paragraph 1. Defendants deny the remainder of the allegations contained in paragraph 1. 2. Defendants admit Plaintiff brings forth claims pursuant to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation 1 Defendants incorporate the subheadings and numbered paragraphs as used in Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint. 1|Page Act of 1973, along with other state causes of action but denies that her claims have any merit. II. PARTIES 3. Defendants lack knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the allegations in paragraph 3. 4. Defendants admit the allegations contained in paragraph 4. 5. Defendants deny the allegation that the UIW School of Medicine is a private university on its own, as it is a component of UIW. III. JURISDICTION AND VENUE 6. Paragraph 6 contains legal conclusions regarding jurisdiction to which no response is required. To the extent that a response is required, Defendants admit that Plaintiff has asserted a claim under federal statute Section 504. 7. Paragraph 7 contains legal conclusions regarding jurisdiction to which no response is required. To the extent that a response is required, Defendants admit that Plaintiff has asserted claims under Texas law. 8. Paragraph 8 contains legal conclusions regarding jurisdiction to which no response is required. To the extent that a response is required, Defendants admit that venue is proper but deny any allegation that UIW's school of medicine is a separate legal entity from UIW. IV. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS 9. Defendants admit that Plaintiff is a woman of Hispanic ethnicity. Defendants lack knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the remainder of the allegations in paragraph 9. 10. Defendants lack knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the allegations 2|Page in paragraph 10. 11. Defendants admit that Plaintiff chose to enroll in UIW's medical school. 12. Defendants lack knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the allegations in paragraph 12. 13. Defendants lack knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the allegations in paragraph 13. 14. Defendants lack knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to why Plaintiff chose UIW's medical school. 15. Defendants lack knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the allegations in paragraph 15. 16. Defendants deny the allegations of paragraph 16. 17. Defendants lack knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the allegations in paragraph 17. 18. Defendants deny the allegations of paragraph 18. 19. Defendants deny the allegations of paragraph 19. 20. Defendants deny the allegation there were curriculum failures. 21. Defendants admit Plaintiff has ADHD. Defendants lack knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the remaining allegations in paragraph 21. 22. Defendants lack knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the allegations in paragraph 22. 23. Defendants admit they received a request for accommodation related to Plaintiff's hand, but deny the remaining allegations of paragraph 23. 24. Defendants deny the allegations of paragraph 24. 3|Page 25. Defendants deny the allegations of paragraph 25. 26. Defendants are without information or belief as to what "foregoing actions" Plaintiff alludes with respect to the named individuals. 27. Defendants admit that Plaintiff left the program, but deny the remaining allegations of paragraph 27. 28. Defendants deny the allegations of paragraph 28. 29. Defendants deny the allegations constituting what she describes as "Defendants' Actions." 30. Defendants deny the allegations of paragraph 30. 31. Defendants deny the allegations of paragraph 31. 32. Defendants deny the allegations of paragraph 32. 33. Defendants deny the allegations of paragraph 33. 34. Defendants deny the allegations of paragraph 34. 35. Defendants deny the allegations of paragraph 35. 36. Defendants deny the allegations of paragraph 36. 37. Defendants deny the allegations of paragraph 37. 38. Defendants deny the allegations of paragraph 38. 39. Defendants deny the allegations of paragraph 39. V. PLAINTIFF'S CAUSE OF ACTION 40. Defendants deny the allegations in paragraph 40. VI. COUNT ONE: SECTION 504 43. Defendants admit the allegations in paragraph 43. 44. Defendants admit the allegations in paragraph 44. 45. Defendants admit the allegations in paragraph 45. 4|Page 46. Defendants lack knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the allegations in paragraph 46. 47. Defendants deny the allegations contained in paragraph 47. 48. Defendants deny the allegations contained in paragraph 48. VII. COUNT TWO: FRAUD IN THE INDUCEMENT 49. Defendants deny the allegations contained in paragraph 49. 50. Defendants deny the allegations contained in paragraph 50. 51. Defendants deny the allegations contained in paragraph 51. 52. Defendants deny the allegations contained in paragraph 52. . VIII. COUNT THREE: BREACH OF CONTRACT 53. Defendants deny the allegations contained in paragraph 53. 54. Defendants deny the allegations contained in paragraph 54. 55. Defendants deny the allegations contained in paragraph 55. IX. COUNT FOUR: INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS 56. Defendants deny the allegations contained in paragraph 56. 57. Defendants deny the allegations contained in paragraph 57. X. COUNT FIVE: TORTIOUS INTERFERENCE 58. Defendants deny the allegations contained in paragraph 58. 59. Defendants deny the allegations contained in paragraph 59. XI. COUNT SIX: CONSPIRACY 60. Defendants deny the allegations in paragraph 60. 61. Defendants deny the allegations in paragraph 61. 5|Page 62. Defendants deny the allegations in paragraph 62. XII. COUNT SEVEN: IMPLIED WARRANTIES 63. Defendants deny the allegations in paragraph 63. 64. Defendants deny the allegations in paragraph 64. 65. Defendants deny the allegations in paragraph 65. XIII. COUNT EIGHT: PUNITIVE DAMAGES 66. Defendants deny the allegations and deny that Plaintiff is entitled to the relief requested in paragraph 66. XIV. COUNT NINE: ATTORNEYS' FEES 67. Defendants deny that Plaintiff is entitled to the relief sought in paragraph 67. XV. COUNT TEN: PRE and POST JUDGMENT INTEREST 68. Defendants deny that Plaintiff is entitled to the relief sought in paragraph 68. XVI. REQEUST FOR JURY 69. Defendants admit that Plaintiffs has demanded a jury trial. AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES 1. Defendants deny any liability in this case under any of the theories of recovery articulated by Plaintiff and further deny that Plaintiff is entitled to any of the relief requested in her First Amended Complaint. 2. Defendants assert that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under the Constitution, or under any other statute, constitutional theory, or legal theory. 3. Defendants have not deprived Plaintiff of any state or federal constitutional, statutory or common law rights. 6|Page 4. Defendants assert that they acted without deliberate indifference, callous indifference, recklessness, malice, negligence or any other discriminatory or unlawful intent, either general or specific, necessary to give rise to a viable federal or state law cause of action. 5. Defendants further assert that they did not engage in any violation of the Section 504 of the Rehabilitation, Comprehensive Services, and Development Disabilities Act of 1978, 29 U.S.C. §794, or in violation of any other federal or state law. 6. Defendants assert that to the extent Plaintiff has suffered any cognizable injury, which Defendants explicitly deny, Plaintiff's own acts or omissions caused or contributed to the plaintiff's injury and Defendants are entitled to an instruction on proportionate responsibility. 7. Defendants assert that to the extent Plaintiff has suffered any cognizable injury, which Defendants explicitly deny, any actions or omissions by Defendants were taken for neutral, uniformly applied, non-discriminatory reasons, including business necessity, undue hardship and direct threat to the health and safety of other individuals. 8. Defendants assert that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claims to the extent that any of these claims are barred by immunity or claims not filed within the relevant statute of limitations. 9. Defendants assert that Plaintiff is not entitled to an award of any attorneys' fees and claim their entitlement to prohibit such an award. 10. Defendants assert that all statutory limitations of liability and all statutory limitations of damages and/or caps are applicable to this case. Defendants are entitled to a statute of limitations defense with respect to Plaintiffs' claims asserted against Defendants to which this defense applies. 11. To the extent that such is or may become applicable, Defendants claim their entitlement to the defenses of lack of standing, failure to exhaust administrative remedies, statute of 7|Page limitations, statute of frauds, repudiation, mootness, failure of consideration, waiver, ratification, contractual disclaimer, estoppel, laches, failure to mitigate damages, intra-corporate conspiracy doctrine, and after acquired evidence for all claims asserted against them. In asserting these defenses, Defendants do not admit that the burden of proving the allegations or denials contained in the defenses is upon Defendants, but to the contrary, assert that the burden of proving the allegations contained in many of the defenses is upon the Plaintiff. 12. Defendants assert that Plaintiff's intentional infliction of emotional distress claim is barred because the Plaintiff has the right to seek recovery of emotional damages under an alternative tort or statute. 13. Defendants assert that Plaintiff is not entitled to any of the relief demanded in Plaintiff's Fist Amended Complaint and that Plaintiff is not entitled to damages, or costs in any amount. Defendants assert that as a matter of law Plaintiff is not entitled to punitive or exemplary damages. 14. Defendants assert their entitlement to recover attorney's fees and costs pursuant to the Rules of Civil Procedure, federal and Texas law, and judicial interpretation. 15. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Defendants reserve the right to raise additional defenses that become apparent throughout the factual development of the case. Respectfully submitted, By: /s/ D. Craig Wood D. Craig Wood State Bar No. 21888700 Federal ID No.: 979301 1020 N.E. Loop 410, Suite 450 San Antonio, Texas 78209 E-Mail: cwood@wabsa.com Telephone: (210) 979-6633 Facsimile: (210) 979-7024 OF COUNSEL: WALSH GALLEGOS TREVIÑO RUSSO & KYLE P.C. 8|Page ATTORNEY IN CHARGE FOR DEFENDANTS By: /s/ Katie E. Payne Katie E. Payne State Bar No. 24071347 Federal ID No.: 1786856 1020 N.E. Loop 410, Suite 450 San Antonio, Texas 78209 E-Mail: kpayne@wabsa.com Telephone: (210) 979-6633 Facsimile: (210) 979-7024 OF COUNSEL: WALSH GALLEGOS TREVIÑO RUSSO & KYLE P.C. CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE I hereby certify that one the 30th day of December 2019, a true and correct copy of the above and foregoing was electronically filed with the Clerk of the Court using CM/ECF system and notification of filing was sent to: COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF: Terry P. Gorman Gorman Law Firm, pllc 901 Mopac Expressway South, Suite 300 Austin, Texas 78746 /s/ D. Craig Wood D. Craig Wood 9|Page