United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Abingdon Division
For Plaintiffs: Melvin E. Williams, Micah D. Wright, Mel Williams PLC, Roanoke, Virginia.
For Defendants: Joan C. McKenna, LeClairRyan, a Professional Corporation, Richmond, Virginia.
OPINION AND ORDER
James P. Jones, United States District Judge.
In this diversity action, the plaintiff asserts various state law claims against her former employer and its individual owner and sole officer. The defendants have
moved to dismiss the plaintiff's wrongful discharge and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons that follow, I will deny the defendants' Motion to Dismiss.
The following are the essential facts as alleged in the plaintiff's Complaint, which I must accept as true for the purposes of the defendants' Motion to Dismiss. See Philips v. Pitt Cnty. Mem'l Hosp., 572 F.3d 176, 180 (4th Cir. 2009).
The plaintiff Misty Faulkner worked for defendant Bluefield Cleaners, Inc. (" Bluefield Cleaners" ), located in Bluefield, Virginia, for approximately thirteen years. Her primary job was to press and iron clothes. The defendant Richard Dillon is the owner and sole officer of Bluefield Cleaners. The events alleged in the Complaint occurred during the course of Faulkner's employment at Bluefield Cleaners.
Around Christmas of 2012, Dillon allegedly began to repeatedly solicit Faulkner for sexual favors and a sexual relationship in exchange for favorable treatment. His actions included offering Faulkner money for sexual acts. Among other allegations, Faulkner asserts in the Complaint that " [a]t times Dillon would place his hands on [her], to include: . . . [r]epeatedly pinching [her] on her buttocks; . . . [r]epeatedly forcing [her] to accept hugs from him, and lingering on her when giving the hugs; and . . . [r]epeatedly rubbing her back." (Compl. ¶ 15, ECF No. 1.) On one occasion in August or September 2013, Faulkner alleges that Dillon attempted to forcibly kiss and hug her when he found her alone in a break room.
On another occasion, Faulkner alleges that Dillon offered her $500 if she would " do a little something for him once or twice a month," which she understood to mean sexual acts. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 21, 22.) Similar events are alleged by Faulkner that involved Dillon placing cash on an ironing board where Faulkner was working. In these instances, Faulkner characterizes Dillon's actions as his attempts to exchange money for sexual acts.
Faulkner also describes numerous notes from Dillon in which he made the following statements, among others:
(1) " Where [sic] you want to speak or not you can make eye contact without getting into trouble" ;
(2) " We can meet Sat [sic] let me know what time" ;
(3) " I Noticed [sic] Look Good" ;
(4) " Next payday when can we get together?" ;
(5) " Don't give up on us and I want [sic] either [sic] If you have a problem, let me know [sic] write me a note anytime" ;
(6) " How much longer do I have to wait [sic] you are killing me" ;
(7) " [My wife] is leaving [sic] I can meet you at mom's this evening [sic] let ...