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Rosencrans v. Quixote Enterprises Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

March 27, 2017



          RICHARD P. CONABOY United States District Judge.

         Defendant'S Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. 8) is pending before the Court. Defendant requests that the Court dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint in its entirety pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Doc. 9 at 2.) For the reasons discussed below, the Court concludes Defendant's motion is properly granted in part and denied in part.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff states in her Complaint that Defendant Quixote Enterprises Inc., (“Adult World”) is in the adult entertainment business with approximately eighteen retail establishments in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. (Doc. 1 ¶ 10.) Defendant Morrow is the principal officer in charge of Adult World. (Id. ¶ 11.)

         Plaintiff had known Defendant Morrow since approximately 2009, and had provided cleaning services to him. (Id. ¶ 19.) She alleges that she and Defendant Morrow became close friends and had a sexual relationship “earlier in 2015, " i.e., sometime before October 2015. (Id. ¶¶ 12, 19.)

         In October 2015, Defendant Morrow offered Plaintiff a position managing six stores at a salary of $35, 000, with fringe benefits including a vehicle, gas card, 401K plan and health insurance. (Id. ¶ 12.) Plaintiff accepted the job offer and began working for Adult World on or about November 9, 2015. (Id. ¶¶ 13, 15.)

         Plaintiff got married on Sunday, November 15, 2015. (Id. ¶ 15.) The following week she worked Tuesday through Friday as scheduled. (Id.)

         On Friday, November 20, 2015, another manager told Plaintiff “that she wasn't working out and that they decided to give another chance to the other girl Plaintiff was supposed to be replacing.” (Id. ¶ 17.) The manager was allegedly acting on instruction from Defendant Morrow who told Plaintiff the same thing via text, adding “you have a new husband.” (Id. ¶¶ 17-18.) Plaintiff adds that male employees who got married were not fired and Defendant “contrived specific reasons for firing Plaintiff” in response to the EEOC charge. (Id. ¶¶ 21, 22.)

         Plaintiff filed her Complaint in this Court on January 9, 2017. (Doc. 1.) The Complaint contains two counts: Count One for Sex Discrimination in violation of Title VII and the PHRA against Defendant Adult World; and Count Two for Aiding and Abetting Sex Discrimination in violation of the PHRA against Defendant Morrow. (Doc. 1 at 5-6.)

         Defendants filed the instant motion on February 14, 2017, accompanied by a supporting brief. (Docs. 8, 9.) On February 21, 2017, Plaintiff filed an opposing brief. (Doc. 10.) With the filing of Defendants' reply brief (Doc. 11) on February 26, 2017, this matter was fully briefed and became ripe for disposition.

         II. Discussion

         A. Motion to Dismiss Standard

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the reviewing court may dismiss a complaint for “failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.” Detailed pleading is not required--“Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only ‘a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ' in order to ‘give fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests, ' Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 . . . (1957).” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). In Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009), the Court noted that, although Rule 8 does not require detailed factual allegations, “it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Iqbal also reiterated the Twombly guidance that “[a] pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.' 550 U.S. at 555 . . . Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders ‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement.' Id. at 557.” 556 U.S. at 678.

To 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.” [Twombly, 550 U.S.] at 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955. A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the Court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Id., at 556, 127 S.Ct. 1955. The plausibility standard is not akin to a “probability requirement, ” but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Ibid. Where a complaint pleads facts that are “merely consistent with” a defendant's liability, it “stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of ‘entitlement to relief.'” Id., at 557, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (brackets omitted).

556 U.S. at 678.

         Pursuant to Twombly and Iqbal, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit set out three steps required of a court reviewing the sufficiency of a claim in Connelly v. Lane Constr. Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d Cir. 2016).

First, it must “tak[e] note of the elements [the] plaintiff must plead to state a claim.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 675, 129 S.Ct. 1937. Second, it should identify allegations that, “because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumptions of truth.” Id. at 679, 129 S.Ct. 1937. See also Burtch v. Milberg Factors, Inc., 662 F.3d 212, 224 (3d Cir. 2011) (“Mere restatements of the elements of a claim are not entitled to the assumption of truth.” (citation and editorial remarks omitted)). Finally, “[w]hen there are well-pleaded factual allegations, [the] court ...

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