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Jackson v. Hoopes Turf Farm

United States District Court, Third Circuit

October 18, 2013

JEANNIE JACKSON, Plaintiff,
v.
HOOPES TURF FARM, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM

MATTHEW W. BRANN, District Judge.

For the following reasons, the motion to dismiss of defendant Hoopes Turf Farm (Dec. 4, 2012, ECF No. 12) is denied in its entirety.

I. The Complaint

On November 26, 2012, plaintiff Jeannie Jackson (hereinafter, "Jackson") filed an amended complaint (ECF No. 10) (hereinafter, "Am. Compl.") against her former employer, Hoopes Turf Farm (hereinafter, the "employer"), a trucking company for which Jackson was a driver (at least apparently - the complaint does not say), alleging counts of hostile environment sexual harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (hereinafter, "Title VII") (count I), [1] gender harassment under Title VII (count II), retaliation under Title VII (count III), and corresponding violations of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (hereinafter, "PHRA") (count IV).

In support of her claims, Jackson alleges summarily that, at least from December 2009 through Mid-July 2010, [2] she was "subjected to sexual harassment by [employer's] owner, Preston Hoopes [(hereinafter, "Hoopes")], on a consistent and daily basis." (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 16, 14-30). Specifically, Jackson avers that:

• On December 19, 2009, during a Christmas party at Hoopes's house, Hoopes "stared directly at [Jackson's] crotch" as he made an announcement to all of the attendees. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 18-19).
• Once when Jackson contacted Hoopes for help with releasing a truck's "king pin, " Hoopes came to her call "dressed in long johns and making wolf calls to [Jackson]." (Id. ¶¶ 20-21).
• Once when Jackson's car broke down at work, Hoopes asked if she would like to spend the night at his house since his wife was out of town. When Jackson demurred, Hoopes insisted that she drive his wife's car home. (Id. ¶¶ 22-23).
• On March 26, 2010, Hoopes telephoned Jackson, asking her to polish his truck the next day, normally her day off, a task for which he would pay her salary. She agreed. While Jackson polished, Hoopes asked her "personal questions about her sex life, [told] her stories about sex and [made] inappropriate sexual comments." (Id. ¶¶ 24-25).
• On April 11, 2010, Hoopes drove Jackson and Doug Parsall (hereinafter, "Parsall") to a meeting. When Jackson tried to get in the back seat of the vehicle, Hoopes insisted that she ride in the front seat with him, purportedly because he did not "want to look at Parsell's ugly mug." (Id. ¶¶ 26-27).
• At one point, Hoopes purchased an automatic dump truck, and told Jackson he had set it up just for her. When Jackson climbed in, Hoopes raised himself onto the driver's step and "placed his crotch against Jackson's hand." Even when Jackson moved her hand, "Hoopes remained very close to [Jackson] as he demonstrated" the truck's set-up. (Id. ¶¶ 28-30).

Jackson further alleges that Hoopes offered to let Jackson drive his personal truck on numerous occasions, offered to take Jackson flying after he received his pilot's license, and suggested that Jackson get a motorcycle license so that she could attend Bike Week with him. (Id. ¶ 17). Finally, Jackson alleges that Hoopes left numerous voicemails for her in which he called Jackson "sleeping beauty, " as well as voicemails in which he charged her with playing "hard to get." (Id. ¶ 39). Some of these voicemails may have come after mid-July, 2010 - it is not clear from Jackson's complaint.

In mid-July, 2010, Jackson told Hoopes that she was uncomfortable with his advances and asked him to put a stop to them. (Id. ¶ 31). As a result, Jackson alleges, Hoopes's began a campaign of retaliation against her that lasted until she was ultimately terminated by Hoopes in January, 2011. (Id. ¶ 32). Specifically, Jackson avers that:

• In early August, 2010, after Jackson notified Hoopes; employer's dispatcher, Robin Vetter (hereinafter, "Vetter"); employer's mechanic, Doug Eckert (hereinfater, "Eckert"); and another employee, that the truck she was driving for employer had broken down, Jackson waited for four hours before Eckert arrived to provide assistance. Hoopes subsequently informed Jackson that it was not employer's policy to pay a driver when ...

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