Dismissal Expected In Federal Lawsuit Against OU

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An Ohio University police lieutenant has agreed to the dismissal of a federal lawsuit against OU, but wants to reserve the right to refile it.

Lt. Christopher Johnson sued the university in federal court claiming that he should receive overtime pay for part of the time he was on paid administrative leave. During the leave, Johnson was paid for eight hours per day, but was required to be available by phone to the university for nine hours a day. Johnson contends he should be paid for the additional time.

Johnson was on paid administrative leave from Aug. 2, 2012 to July 26, 2013 while the university investigated allegations of inappropriate on-duty conduct. He was eventually brought off leave and given a two-day unpaid suspension.
Johnson's attorney, Daniel Klos, filed a motion in federal court this week saying that both sides in the lawsuit had agreed the case should be dismissed without prejudice — meaning it could be refiled. The court has not yet acted on the motion, but is expected to approve it.

Ohio University had earlier filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the lawsuit is based on the allegation that OU violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and that OU is entitled to state sovereign immunity. Johnson had not yet responded to the motion.

Johnson also has filed a case against OU in the Ohio Court of Claims over the pay issue. Klos told The Messenger on Thursday that the case also includes claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act and he is waiting to see if the Ohio Court of Claims accepts jurisdiction over that portion of the case.

The Messenger reported recently that Johnson lost a Franklin County Common Pleas Court case. He had attempted to appeal his two-day unpaid suspension to the State Personnel Board of Review, which declined to hear the matter. The Franklin County judge upheld the state review board's decision.