United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Bissoon, United States District Judge
before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendant
Ascent Automotive Group-TM LLC (“Ascent”)
(Doc. 11), pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons that
follow, Ascent's Motion will be DENIED.
February 28, 2017, Plaintiff Brian Geiger
(“Plaintiff”) filed a Complaint asserting sex
discrimination, sexual harassment, hostile work environment
and retaliation claims under Title VII against Defendants
Ascent and TM-Greensburg, LLC (“TM-Greensburg”).
Plaintiff alleges that Ascent and TM-Greensburg are his
“joint employers.” Doc. 1 ¶ 5. Plaintiff
specifically alleges that he was “hired in or around
November 2007 at Toyota of Greensburg for Sales, ” and
that “in or around October 2011, Toyota  of
Greensburg w[as] . . . sold and acquired by Ascent Automotive
Group LLC.” Id. ¶¶ 22, 24. Following
that acquisition, “Plaintiff was subsequently rehired
by Defendant for sales.” Id. ¶ 26.
Thereafter, between October 2014 to December 2015, Plaintiff
alleges that he was subjected to unwanted touching by his
supervisor, William Berardino. Id. ¶¶
38-74. Plaintiff further alleges that, between December 2015
to February 2016. he communicated with Paige Larrabee,
“lead counsel for Friedkin and Ascent, ” about
the alleged harassment but that Larrabee was either
non-responsive or did nothing to correct the behavior.
Id. ¶¶ 78-105. Plaintiff claims that he
was “forced to resign” on or about June 25, 2016.
Id. ¶ 119.
8, 2017, Ascent filed the pending Motion to Dismiss, arguing
that Plaintiff's Title VII claims against Ascent should
be dismissed because Plaintiff does not allege facts showing
that Ascent was his employer. See generally Doc. 12.
Ascent argues that “Plaintiff's lone allegation in
the Complaint” relating to Ascent is a “legal
conclusion” that Ascent and TM-Greensburg were his
joint employers but that “Plaintiff has failed to
allege any facts to support a joint employer theory.”
Doc. 12 at pp. 4-6. Ascent further argues that
Plaintiff's claims against Ascent should be dismissed
because he “admitted that he was employed by Toyota of
Greensburg.” Doc. 12 at p. 5 (citing Doc. 1 ¶ 25).
Ascent's characterization of Plaintiff's Complaint,
the Court finds that Plaintiff has alleged more than enough
facts to demonstrate that Ascent employed him during the
relevant time period. Although Plaintiff states that
“he was employed by Toyota of Greensburg, ” he
also explains that Ascent acquired Toyota of Greensburg in or
around October 2011, well before the events giving rise to
his Title VII claims arose. Furthermore, Plaintiff
specifically alleges that Ascent's legal counsel
communicated with him about Mr. Berardino's conduct over
the course of several months. These facts are more than
sufficient to show that Ascent was his employer and thus can
be held liable for the harassment and retaliation alleged in
reasons stated above, Ascent's Motion to Dismiss
(Doc. 11) is DENIED. Ascent shall file its
Answer to the Complaint on or before January 9, 2018.
 The following background facts are
taken from Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. 1). Because the
case is presently before this Court on a motion to dismiss
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the Court
accepts as true all allegations in the Complaint and all
reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom. See
Rocks v. City of Philadelphia, 868 F.2d 644, 645 (3d
Cir. 1989). In addition, the Court views all well pleaded