United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
R. HORNAK, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 14, filed by
Defendant Crane Room Grille, Inc. Defendant seeks to dismiss
the entire Complaint, ECF No. 1, with prejudice due to
Plaintiffs untimely filing of her charge with the EEOC,
Plaintiffs untimely filing of her Complaint, and Plaintiffs
failure to state a claim. For the reasons that follow, the
Court concludes that Plaintiffs Complaint survives the
dismissal sought under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), and the Motion to Dismiss is denied.
brings this action under Title VII of the Civil Rights act of
1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, and Pennsylvania's common
law. (Compl. ¶ 1.) Put simply, Plaintiff alleges that,
as a woman, she was subjected to a hostile work environment
by her supervisor while employed by Defendant. Plaintiff also
alleges that she was constructively discharged and that
Defendant was negligent in the supervision and retention of
her supervisor. (Id.)
motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of the
complaint. Kostv. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 183
(3dCir. 1993). In deciding a motion to dismiss, the Court is
not opining upon whether the plaintiff will be likely to
prevail on the merits; rather, when considering a motion to
dismiss, the Court accepts as true all well-pleaded factual
allegations in the complaint and views them in a light most
favorable to the plaintiff. U.S. Express Lines Ltd. v.
Higgins, 281 F.3d 383, 388 (3d Cir. 2002). While a
complaint does not need detailed factual allegations to
survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a complaint must
provide more than labels and conclusions. Bell Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). "Factual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level" and "sufficient to state a
claim for relief that is plausible on its face."
Id. "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." Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S.
Court of Appeals has instructed that "a court reviewing
the sufficiency of a complaint must take three steps,"
Connelly v. Lane Constr. Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 786-87
(3d Cir. 2016), explaining:
First, it must "tak[e] note of the elements [the]
plaintiff must plead to state a claim." Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 675. Second, it should identify allegations that,
"because they are no more than conclusions, are not
entitled to the assumption of truth." Id. at
679. 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 marks omitted)).
Finally, "[w]hen there are well-pleaded factual
allegations, [the] court should assume their veracity and
then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an
entitlement to relief." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.
Connelly, 809 F.3d at 786-87. "Determining
whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will
... be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing
court to draw on its judicial experience and common
sense." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. A plaintiff
must set forth "sufficient factual allegations to raise
a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal
evidence" of the elements of the claim for relief.
Trzaska v. L'Oreal USA, Inc., 865 F.3d 155, 162
(3d Cir. 2017); see Connelly, 809 F.3d at 789.
Plaintiffs Filing of a Charge with the EEOC
the appropriate statute, Plaintiff must have filed her charge
of discrimination with the EEOC within 300 days from the date
of the alleged harm. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e)(1)
(extending time to file from 180 to 300 days when a plaintiff
initially institutes proceedings-or cross claims-with a state
agency). The date of the alleged harm is August 16, 2017
(Compl. ¶ 36), rendering a deadline to file with the
EEOC of June 12, 2018.
Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that she filed a charge with the
EEOC regarding her allegations under Title VII on June 11,
2018. (Id. ¶ 6.) Plaintiff attaches to her
Complaint a copy of a fax transmission from Plaintiffs
counsel to the EEOC Pittsburgh Office, with a fax cover sheet
showing a date of June 11, 2018. (Compl. Ex. 1, ECF No. 1-2,
at l.) Defendant asserts that it has been
"unable to obtain any of the official documents from
Plaintiffs filing with the EEOC, which should show the date
she filed." (ECF No. 15, at 4 (emphasis
added).) Rather, Defendant alleges that it "verified
through the EEOC that the charge was actually filed on June
15, 2018."(Id.) The difference between June
11, 2018, and June 15, 2018, is crucial, as the operative
date will determine whether Plaintiffs charge of
discrimination was timely filed with the EEOC.
argues that the EEOC's regulations allow a postmark to
serve as an acceptable indication of the date of filing,
citing 29 C.F.R. § 1626.7. Plaintiff urges this Court to
apply that "post mark rule" to the date indicated
on her own fax cover letter. Although our Court of Appeals
has not ruled on this issue, Plaintiff relies on the Seventh
Circuit's holding that "confirmation of a fax sent
to the EEOC is 'strong evidence of receipt' on the
part of the agency." (ECF No. 16, at 2 (quoting
Laouini v. CLM Freight Lines, ...