United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
BISSOON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court are Motions to Dismiss filed by Defendant
Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (“Defendant
Turnpike”) (Doc. 17) and Defendant John Longo
(“Defendant Longo”) (Doc. 19), pursuant to Rule
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the
reasons that follow, Defendant Turnpike's Motion to
Dismiss (Doc. 17) will be GRANTED and Defendant Longo's
Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 19) will be DENIED.
Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (“Defendant
Turnpike”) employed Plaintiff Elena Renze
(“Plaintiff”)'s mother at its Harrison City
Maintenance Facility. (Amended Complaint (Doc. 11) ¶ 9).
Defendant Longo also worked for Defendant Turnpike at the
Harrison City Maintenance Facility, and, for a period of
time, was Plaintiff's mother's immediate supervisor.
(Id. ¶ 9). Plaintiff alleges that Defendant
Longo “created a hostile work environment for
Plaintiff's mother at Defendant Turnpike.”
(Id. ¶ 10). Specifically, Plaintiff alleges
that “Defendant Longo was controlling and aggressive
toward Plaintiff's mother, and took actions including
threatening her with physical violence, including rape and
murder, and termination if he saw her speaking to other men
at Defendant Turnpike.” (Id. ¶ 10).
Plaintiff claims that, as a result of this harassment,
Plaintiff's mother “worked in fear of Defendant
Longo and always followed his directives to ensure her
physical safety and continued employment with Defendant
Turnpike.” (Id. ¶ 11). Among other
things, Defendant Longo used his power as a supervisor to
pressure Plaintiff's mother to bring Plaintiff (then a
minor) to the Harrison City Maintenance Facility after he saw
a picture of Plaintiff at Plaintiff's mother's work
station. (Id. ¶ 12).
about November 12, 2010, Plaintiff's mother brought
Plaintiff to Defendant Turnpike's Harrison City
Maintenance Facility. (Id. ¶ 13). At that time,
Plaintiff was 12 years old. (Id.). Plaintiff's
mother continued to bring Plaintiff to the Harrison City
Maintenance Facility on a regular basis for months after this
initial visit. (Id. ¶ 14). During
Plaintiff's visits, Defendant Longo inappropriately
touched Plaintiff without her consent. (Id. ¶
15). Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that:
• On multiple occasions, Defendant Longo forcibly held
Plaintiff upside down and tickled her, such that her shirt
would slide down around her head so that her chest and
stomach were exposed. (Id. ¶ 18).
• Defendant Longo held Plaintiff on his knee and
forcibly rubbed Plaintiff's genitals against his leg
several different times. (Id. ¶ 19).
• Defendant Longo forced Plaintiff to allow him to
perform numerous unwanted foot massages by touching her feet
in a sexual manner. (Id. ¶ 20).
Longo engaged in the above conduct during regular workday
hours, and while Plaintiff's mother was absent.
(Id. ¶¶ 16-17). Plaintiff asserts that
Defendant Longo should have known that such contact was not
permitted and that Plaintiff did not consent to the touching.
(Id. ¶ 21). Plaintiff alleges that she
suffered, and continues to suffer, injuries as a result of
Longo's unwanted touching, including mental anguish,
emotional distress and physical injury. (Id.
to Plaintiff, “[o]ther employees of Defendant Turnpike
were aware of Defendant Longo's sexual behavior towards
Plaintiff. On at least one occasion, another employee of
Defendant Turnpike observed Defendant Longo forcibly press
Plaintiff onto his knee and grind her genitals against his
leg.” (Id. ¶ 24). Plaintiff avers that
“[a]s a result of the aforementioned incidents,
Plaintiff believes, and therefore avers, that Defendant
Turnpike was aware of Defendant Longo's unlawful
conduct.” (Id. ¶ 25). Plaintiff further
avers that “Defendant Turnpike was aware, or should
have been aware, of Defendant Longo's unlawful conduct as
a result of Defendant Longo's use of his supervisory
authority to permit Plaintiff, a minor, frequent access to
Defendant Turnpike's premises for no legitimate
reason” and “because of the frequency of
Plaintiff's visits to Defendant Turnpike's Harrison
City Maintenance Facility.” (Id. ¶¶
27-28). Plaintiff asserts that “Defendant Turnpike
remained deliberately indifferent as to Plaintiff's
repeated sexual assaults by its supervisor, Defendant
Longo.” (Id. ¶ 29). Plaintiff also claims
that “Defendant Turnpike failed to properly train,
control, discipline and/or supervise its agent, Defendant
Longo.” (Id. ¶ 33).
April 2011, Defendant Longo was arrested on charges of child
pornography. (Id. ¶ 30). On or about August 28,
2014, Defendant Longo pled guilty to violating 18 U.S.C.
§ 2251(a), 18 U.S.C. § 2251(e) and 18 U.S.C. §
2(a), that is, one count of aiding, abetting, inducing and
procuring another adult to produce material depicting the
sexual exploitation of a minor. (Id. ¶ 31).
Plaintiff was identified as the minor child depicted in the
material possessed and distributed by Defendant Longo.
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint 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) (quoting
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). When faced with a motion to dismiss, a court
“must accept all of the complaint's well-pleaded
facts as ...