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Davis v. CMH Manufacturing, Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

October 8, 2014



SYLVIA H. RAMBO, District Judge.

In this employment discrimination action, Plaintiff sued her former employer on the basis that she was subjected to a sexually hostile work environment and retaliated against for reporting sexual harassment, which she contends was in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2, and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, 43 Pa. C.S. § 951. Presently before the court is Defendant's motion to dismiss, which challenges Plaintiff's ability to sustain a cause of action due to operation of a contractual limitations period. For the following reasons, Defendant's motion to dismiss will be denied, without prejudice to Defendant's right to raise a similar argument at the appropriate stage of litigation.

I. Background

As required when deciding a motion to dismiss, the court will accept as true the well-pleaded factual averments set forth in the complaint (Doc. 1) and view them in the light most favorable to Plaintiff as the nonmoving party.

A. Facts

On December 10, 2012, Defendant CMH Manufacturing d/b/a Marlette Homes ("Defendant"), an entity that was incorporated in Tennessee and engaged in the manufacturing of modular homes ( id. at ¶ 4), hired Plaintiff, an individual residing within the Middle District of Pennsylvania ( id. at ¶ 3), to work as a custodian at its Lewistown, Pennsylvania, facility ( id. at ¶ 12). In that capacity, Plaintiff was responsible for, inter alia, maintaining both the male and female restrooms. ( Id. at ¶ 13.) Plaintiff alleges that when she was required to clean the men's restroom, her manager, Lance D. Kellas, frequently made inappropriate sexual remarks. ( Id. at ¶ 14.) Plaintiff's requests for Kellas to cease his sexual comments were to no avail. ( Id. at ¶ 15.)

Plaintiff reported Kellas's continued behavior to her senior manager, John Campbell, indicating that Kellas's comments made her feel uncomfortable. ( Id. at ¶ 16.) Campbell told Plaintiff that "he would take care of the problem." ( Id. ) Shortly thereafter, on or around January 9, 2013, Kellas fired Plaintiff for unsatisfactory performance, including Plaintiff's alleged failure to mop and fill paper dispensers daily. ( Id. at ¶ 17.) Plaintiff alleges that, during her six weeks of employment with Defendant, she had never been reprimanded or otherwise disciplined and avers that the immediate termination of her employment was inconsistent with the Progressive Counseling policy outlined in the Team Member Handbook. ( Id. at ¶¶ 18-19.)

B. Administrative Proceedings

On June 13, 2013, Plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), in which she alleged sexual harassment, retaliation, and wrongful discharge. (Doc. 1, ¶ 7.) The claim was cross-filed with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission ("PHRC"). ( Id. at ¶ 9.) On July 17, 2014, Plaintiff was notified by the EEOC of her right to sue. ( Id. at ¶ 10.)

C. Procedural History

Plaintiff initiated the instant action on July 21, 2014. (Doc. 1.) On October 6, 2014, Defendant timely filed a motion to dismiss and brief in support. (Docs. 7 & 8; see also Doc. 6 (granting Defendant's unopposed motion for an extension of time to respond to Plaintiff's complaint).) Plaintiff has not yet responded to the instant motion.

II. Legal Standard

Defendant moves to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 requires that a complaint set forth "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). For a complaint to survive dismissal, it "must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). The plaintiff's short and plain statement of the claim must "give the defendant fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).

In evaluating the sufficiency of a complaint, a court must accept all well-pleaded factual allegations as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. See Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008). "Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Further, "[a] pleading that offers labels and conclusions' or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.' Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders naked assertion[s]' devoid of further factual enhancement.'" Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (internal citations omitted) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557). However, this "does not impose a probability requirement at the pleading stage, ' but instead simply calls for enough facts to ...

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