United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
F. SAPORITO, JR. United States Magistrate Judge.
an employment discrimination case. In the complaint (Doc. 1),
the plaintiff, Maggie McNamara (“McNamara”),
claims that the defendants violated Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. Â§2000e et seq., and
the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, 43 P.S. §951
et seq., on the basis of gender discrimination,
retaliation, and hostile work environment. This matter is
before the court on a motion to dismiss filed by the
defendants. (Doc. 9) The parties have filed their respective
briefs. Based upon the courts review of the defendants'
motion to dismiss, we will deny it in part and grant it in
November 29, 2017, McNamara filed a complaint (Doc. 1)
seeking damages for gender discrimination, sexual harassment,
and retaliation. She named as defendants: Susquehanna County,
her former employer; Elizabeth Arnold, a county commissioner;
Mary Ann Warren, a county commissioner; and Richard Ely, the
Susquehanna County Director of Veterans Affairs.
January 29, 2018, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss
for failure to state a claim pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). (Doc. 9). The defendants filed their brief in
support on February 12, 2018. (Doc. 12). McNamara filed her
brief in opposition on February 23, 2018. (Doc. 23). The
defendants filed a timely reply brief. (Doc. 19). In their
motion to dismiss, the defendants assert that (1) the
complaint fails to establish a claim of sex discrimination or
retaliation because it is devoid of allegations of any
adverse employment action by McNamara's employer; (2)
Title VII does not permit individual liability; and (3) the
complaint does not support a claim for punitive damages. The
matter is ripe for disposition.
Statement of Facts
complaint consists of three counts under Title VII and three
counts under the PHRA each involving (1) sexual harassment;
(2) retaliation; and (3) hostile work environment.
complaint, McNamara alleges that in June 2014, she was hired
as an administrative assistant to the chief clerk of
Susquehanna County. She was promoted to deputy clerk in
February 2015. Thereafter, in December 2015, defendant Ely
attempted to kiss and hug McNamara at her workplace. On that
same day, it is alleged that Ely approached McNamara's
car, stuck his face into her car, made a kissing lips facial
expression, and stated, “you won't get this offer
again.” She reported these incidents to her supervisor,
the reporting of the incident, McNamara contends that she was
subjected to pervasive harassment and retaliation by the
defendant commissioners. She has alleged that after she
reported the incidents, the defendant commissioners were
unfairly critical of her work, subjected her to public
humiliation at meetings, and complained about her
interactions with other employees. In addition, she alleged
that despite her allegations about defendant Ely,
Commissioner Warren assigned McNamara to work in close
quarters with Ely where Ely would yell at her and become
angry. At some point, because of the alleged continuing
harassment, McNamara felt the necessity to leave her position
as deputy chief clerk for a position with the Susquehanna
District Attorney's Office where she suffered a loss in
defendants moved to dismiss the complaint on the following
grounds: (1) punitive damages are not recoverable under
either Title VII or the PHRA; (2) Commissioner Arnold,
Commissioner Warren, and Director Ely should be dismissed in
their individual and official capacities because only the
employer is the proper defendant in a Title VII case; (3)
several of the allegations were not administratively
exhausted; and (4) the complaint fails to allege pervasive
discrimination. (Doc. 9).
(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure authorizes a
defendant to move to dismiss for “failure to state a
claim upon which relief is granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). “Under Rule 12(b)(6), a motion to dismiss may
be granted only if, accepting all well-pleaded allegations in
the complaint as true and viewing them in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff, a court finds the plaintiff's
claims lack facial plausibility.” Warren Gen. Hosp.
v. “mgen, Inc., 643 F.3d 77, 84 (3d Cir. 2011)
(citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555-56 (2007)). Although the Court must accept the fact
allegations in the complaint as true, it is not compelled to
accept Aunsupported conclusions and unwarranted inferences,
or a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.”
Morrow v. Balaski, 719 F.3d 160, 165 (3d Cir. 2013)
(quoting Baraka v. McGreevey, 481 F.3d 187, 195 (3d
Rule12(b)(6), the defendant has the burden of showing that no
claim has been stated. Kehr Packages, Inc. v. Fidelcor,
Inc., 926 F.2d 1406, 1409 (3d Cir. 1991); Johnsrud
v. Carter, 620 F.2d 29, 32-33 (3d Cir. 1980);
Holocheck v. Luzerne Cty. Head Start, Inc., 385
F.Supp.2d 491, 495 (M.D. Pa. 2005). In deciding the motion,
the court may consider the facts alleged on the face of the
complaint, as well as ”documents incorporated into the
complaint by reference, and matters of which a court may take
judicial notice.” Tellab, Inc. v. Makor Issues
& Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S. 308, 322 (2007). The court
may also consider “undisputedly authentic document[s]
that a defendant attaches as an exhibit to a motion to
dismiss if the plaintiff's claims are based on the
[attached] documents.” Pension Benefit Guar. Corp.
v. White Consol. Indus., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir.
1993). Moreover, “documents whose contents are alleged
in the complaint and whose authenticity no party questions,
but which are not physically attached to the pleading, may be
considered.” Pryor v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic
Ass'n, 288 F.3d 548, 560 (3d Cir. 2002).