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Mandel v. M & Q Packaging Corp.

August 18, 2009

SHANNON J. MANDEL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
M & Q PACKAGING CORP., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Caputo

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the Court is Defendant M & Q Packaging Corp.'s Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 6.) Plaintiff Shannon Mandel raises several claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq., and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("PHRA"), 43 Pa. Cons. Stat. §§ 951 et seq., as well as a state law claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Defendant moves to dismiss certain of Plaintiff's claims under Title VII and the PHRA as well as her state law claim. For the reasons stated below, the Court will grant Defendant's motion.

This Court has jurisdiction over Plaintiff's federal claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 ("federal question jurisdiction") and over her state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a) ("supplemental jurisdiction").

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff was hired by Defendant as a salesperson on October 25, 1996. In over ten (10) years of employment with Defendant, she held several positions. The title of her final position was Customer Service Manager. (Compl. ¶¶ 11, 12, 21.) In her complaint, Plaintiff alleges that, throughout her employment, she was subjected to sexual harassment-including sexually derogatory comments, innuendoes, and solicitation by male co-workers and supervisors-and sex discrimination-including inequitable treatment, assignments, career advancement, and pay compared with male counterparts. (Compl. ¶¶13-15.) Plaintiff further alleges that, on April 6, 2007, Defendant's plant manager entered her office to discuss a work matter and screamed, accused her of wrongdoing, and called her a "bitch." Plaintiff was physically threatened by the behavior. Plaintiff alleges that on this occasion, and others, she complained to the general manager about the harassment and discrimination she suffered at the hands of Defendant's employees and officials. As a result of such complaints, she allegedly suffered further discriminatory, harassing, and physically threatening treatment. Plaintiff resigned her employment on May 23, 2007. She alleges that she was constructively terminated due to her intolerable work conditions. (Compl. ¶¶ 16-21.)

Plaintiff filed a four-count complaint on January 9, 2009. (Doc. 1.) Counts I and II allege gender-based termination, harassment, and retaliation in violation of Title VII. Count III alleges gender-based termination, harassment, and retaliation in violation of the PHRA. Count IV alleges a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Defendant filed the present motion to dismiss on March 16, 2009 and a brief in support on March 30, 2009. (Docs. 6, 8.) Defendant moves to dismiss Counts I, II, and III to the extent they raise Title VII retaliation claims and to dismiss Count IV in its entirety. Plaintiff filed a brief in opposition on April 13, 2009.*fn1 (Doc. 9.) Defendant filed a reply brief on April 27, 2009. (Doc. 10.) This motion has been fully briefed and is ripe for disposition.

LEGAL STANDARD

Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for the dismissal of a complaint, in whole or in part, for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Dismissal is appropriate only if, accepting as true all the facts alleged in the complaint, Plaintiff has not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face," Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1960 (2007), meaning, enough factual allegations "to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of" each necessary element. Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008); see also Kost v. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 183 (3d Cir. 1993) (requiring complaint to set forth information from which each element of a claim may be inferred). In light of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), the statement need only "give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007) (per curiam). "[T]he factual detail in a complaint [must not be] so undeveloped that it does not provide a defendant the type of notice of claim which is contemplated by Rule 8." Phillips, 515 F.3d at 232; see also Airborne Beepers & Video, Inc. V. AT&T Mobility LLC, 499 F.3d 663, 667 (7th Cir. 2007).

In deciding a motion to dismiss, the Court should consider the allegations in the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint and matters of public record. See Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus.. Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993). The Court may also consider "undisputedly authentic" documents where the plaintiff's claims are based on the documents and the defendant has attached a copy of the document to the motion to dismiss. Id. The court need not assume that the plaintiff can prove facts that were not alleged in the complaint, see Pittsburgh v. West Penn Power Co., 147 F.3d 256, 263 (3d Cir. 1998), nor credit a complaints "bald assertions" or "legal conclusions." Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997).

When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court's role is limited to determining whether the plaintiff is entitled to offer evidence in support of the claims. Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974). The Court does not consider whether the plaintiff will ultimately prevail. Id. The defendant bears the burden of establishing that the plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Gould Elecs., Inc. v. United States, 220 F.3d 169, 178 (3d Cir. 2000).

DISCUSSION

I. Retaliation Claims

In Counts I and II, Plaintiff raises claims for retaliation in violation of Title VII. In Count III, she raises a claim for retaliation in violation of the PHRA. Defendant argues that the retaliation claims in Counts I, II, and III should be dismissed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil ...


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