United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
G. SHERIDAN, U.S.D.J.
before the Court is Defendant Showcase Publications,
Inc.'s Motion for Partial Dismissal of Plaintiffs
Complaint pursuant Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 12(b)(6). (ECF No. 11).
Specifically, Defendants seek dismissal of Count VI of
Plaintiff s Complaint, wherein she alleges Intentional
Infliction of Emotional Distress (hereinafter,
"IIED"). For the reasons discussed herein,
Defendants' motion is denied.
cases arises from allegations of wrongful termination.
Plaintiff Caitlin Stolzenthaler was a data entry clerk for
Showcase Publications, Inc. (Complaint at ¶¶ 8,
17). Throughout her employment, Plaintiff claims she was
"subjected to numerous acts of sexual harassment, sex
discrimination, retaliation and forced to endure a hostile
work environment." (Id. at ¶ 18).
Specifically, Plaintiff claims that Defendants Richard
Delile, Showcase Media's President, and Robert Draper,
Plaintiffs supervisor, regularly harassed her. According to
the Complaint, Defendant Draper made sexual comments
regarding Plaintiffs figure, such as "You're such a
cutie, you must not be married and you probably don't
have kids because you have a young-looking body."
(Id. at ¶ 19). When Draper took her to lunch,
Plaintiff claims he discussed with her his sex life and, in
another conversation, discussed the number of prostitutes he
has had sex with. (Id. at ¶¶ 20-21). In
addition, Draper allegedly forwarded inappropriate pictures,
with sexual innuendos captioned within, to Plaintiff. For
instance, in November 24, 2016, Draper forwarded a picture to
Plaintiff of a man cross-dressing, with the caption,
"Hi, I'm Caitlyn from Auto Shoppper?!"
(Id. at ¶¶ 22-23). Plaintiff purportedly
responded, "Oh wow. Accurate. Lol." (Id.).
this same timeframe, Plaintiff began a brief relationship
with Defendant Delile, which ended the following month.
(Id. at ¶ 24). When the two ended their
relationship, Plaintiff expressed to Delile a desire to
remain workplace friends. (Id. at ¶ 25).
However, Plaintiff claims that Delile "subject[ed] [her]
to regular unwelcome sexual conduct and comments" by
continuing to ask Plaintiff out on dates. (Id. at
December 2016, Plaintiff claims that Draper continued to
harass her. He continued to send inappropriate messages to
her, such as a picture of a little boy wearing a t-shirt that
said, "I fuck on the first date." (Id. at
¶ 27). During a client meeting, Plaintiff alleges that
Draper continued to caress her legs, despite her efforts to
push him away. (Id. at ¶ 29). In February 2017,
Draper caressed the back of Plaintiff s legs and, when she
objected, he replied that he was "just fixing
[Plaintiffs] bell bottoms." (Id. at ¶ 30).
A few days later, Draper made a comment about Plaintiffs
breasts saying, "You are bouncy today."
(Id. at ¶ 31). When Plaintiff inquired as to
what he was referring to, Draper responded, "Must be the
shirt you're wearing." (Id.).
early March, Draper promoted Plaintiff to Social Media
Manager; thereafter, on March 24, 2017, Delile posted a
pornographic picture on his personal Instagram with the
caption "I got the raise" and "I know someone
like this!" (Id. at ¶ 34). Plaintiff
claims this was in retaliation for her refusal to date him
and she was humiliated and offended by the post.
(Id.). In response, Plaintiff spoke with her
manager, Jarod Vanna, and Stephanie Aminao, a Human Resources
representative, about the harassment she continued to
experience from both Draper and Delile. (Id. at
¶ 33). However, no corrective action was taken.
(Id. at ¶ 35).
19, 2017, Plaintiff notified Vanna that she would be off from
May 22 through May 25, 2017 to care for her cat.
(Id. at ¶ 36). Apparently, another co-worker
took issue, and posted a picture on Delile's personal
Facebook page, with the caption "WHORE" and comment
"7 days off for a cat?" (Id. at ¶
37). Delile purportedly responded with a picture of a
dumpster fire and the comment, "This sums up the whole
situation and degenerate pieces of trash involved."
(Id.). Plaintiff claims that she was humiliated by
the picture, which was publicly shared with co-workers.
Plaintiff reported this harassing episode to Vanna,
explaining that she "felt unsafe in the hostile work
environment and that she feared for her safety."
(Id. at ¶ 39). Vanna then forwarded Plaintiffs
concerns to Draper and Defendant Eric Osbjornson, a Showcase
Media Production Manager. (Id. at ¶ 40). Again,
no corrective action was taken.
4, 2017, Draper ordered that Plaintiff submit a formal
complaint, in writing, and explained that he would not
discuss the issue any further, unless authorized by counsel.
(Id. at ¶ 40). Two days later, Plaintiff
submitted the written complaint to Draper. (Id. at
¶ 41). The following day, Draper informed Plaintiff that
he had completed investigating the complaint, concluding:
Your complaint has been addressed and will be handled during
working hours tomorrow . . . rest assured that you will not
be bothered by comments by that boy or any other employee ...
to my knowledge . . . these people are older immature boys
... as always, you can govern yourself accordingly.
(Id. at ¶ 42). However, that same day Draper
notified Plaintiff of her termination. (Id. at
result of Defendants' conduct, Plaintiff claims she was
"humiliated, degraded, victimized, embarrassed, and
emotionally distressed." (Id. at ¶ 45).
Specifically, she claims to suffer regular panic attacks and
nightmares and has difficulty sleeping and eating.
(Id. at ¶ 47).
motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to
Federal Rule Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the Court is required
to accept as true all allegations in the Complaint and all
reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom, and to
view them in the light most favorable to the non-moving
party. See Oshiver v. Levin, Fishbein, Sedran &
Berman,38 F.3d 1380, 1384 (3d Cir. 1994). "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.'"
Ashcroft v. Iqbal,556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atl Corp. v. Twombly,550 U.S. 544, 570, 127
S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). While a court will
accept well-pleaded allegations as true for the purposes of
the motion, it will not accept bald assertions, unsupported
conclusions, unwarranted inferences, or sweeping legal
conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; see also Morse ...