Amelia Molitor’s lawsuit against OU running back Joe Mixon will be changing venue — from California to Oklahoma, according to Mixon’s attorneys.
“We are pleased with the court’s decision to return this case to Oklahoma,” said Blake Johnson of Crowe & Dunlevy in a statement. “The Court recognized that the plaintiff’s choice to file this lawsuit over 1,500 miles away in San Francisco was needlessly costly and inefficient.”
Molitor’s attorneys filed suit in California against Mixon this July, nearly two years to the day after Molitor and Mixon got into a late-night fight at Pickleman’s Gourmet Cafe on Campus Corner in Norman.
The incident left Molitor with facial fractures, and she has sued Mixon for negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Molitor has sued Pickleman’s as well. That suit was filed in the U.S. District Court of Western Oklahoma. Her suit against Mixon was filed in U.S. District Court of Northern California, which encompasses where Mixon grew up.
Thursday, Judge James Donato did not rule on the defense’s motion to dismiss the suit in general, according to Johnson and co-counsel Cullen Sweeney.
“We still believe that the lawsuit should be dismissed, but our request to dismiss the lawsuit will now be decided by a federal judge in Oklahoma City,” Johnson said.
Molitor is being represented by Oklahoma attorneys Ben Baker of Purcell and Rusty Smith of Muskogee. They had argued that the “status and importance” of OU football would prevent the 22-year-old Molitor from receiving a fair trial in Oklahoma.
Writing in opposition to the transfer of venue motion, Molitor’s attorneys included a 120-word excerpt from Barry Switzer’s book Bootlegger’s Boy as perspective of how the “Oklahoma Football Monster” might affect the Sooner State’s perspective on the trial.
“The judge rejected the plaintiff’s argument that Oklahomans would be too biased in Mixon’s favor to serve as good jurors,” Johnson said in his statement.
Baker released a statement through co-counsel Rusty Smith.
“We certainly respect Judge Donato’s ruling and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to practice before him. At the same time, we now look forward to proceeding with the litigation back here in Oklahoma,” Baker said in his statement. “Frankly, it is surprising to us that Mr. Mixon would actually want to have the case litigated under the media’s microscope here in Oklahoma, but that is what he and his legal team wanted.”
“We are eager to put all of the relevant evidence on as we seek a favorable outcome for Mia,” Smith said.
Mixon entered an Alford plea in October 2014 for a misdemeanor charge stemming from the incident. He received a one-year deferred sentence and 100 hours of community service.
(Editor’s Note: One of Joe Mixon’s co-counselors, Cullen Sweeney, authored a commentary for NonDoc in February regarding Oklahoma’s Judicial Nominating Commission.)