Rangarajan v. John Hopkins University
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER Granting 32 Motion to Consolidate Cases for Dispositive Motions and, If Necessary, Trial. Signed by Judge William M Nickerson on 9/16/2016. (bas, Deputy Clerk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
JOHNS HOPKINS HEALTH SYSTEM
CORP. et al.
JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY
Civil Action No. WMN-12-1953
Civil Action No. WMN-13-3630
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Pending before the Court in the above-captioned actions are
motions to consolidate these actions for the purposes of
dispositive briefing and, if necessary, for trial.
ECF No. 97
in Civ. No. WMN-12-1953 (the FCA case)1 and ECF No. 32 in WMN-133630 (the Title VII case).2
Under Rule 42(a) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure, a court may “(1) join for hearing or
trial any or all matters at issue in the actions; (2)
consolidate the actions; or (3) issue any other orders to avoid
Plaintiff asserts in this action a claim of retaliation under
the federal False Claims Act, and state law claims of defamation
and tortious interference with prospective business advantage.
Plaintiff asserts in this action claims under Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964, and state law claims of defamation and
tortious interference with prospective business advantage.
unnecessary cost or delay,” if those actions “involve a common
question of law or fact.”
The district court is accorded broad
discretion in its determination as to whether cases should be
consolidated, weighing “logistical factors” such as “time,
expense, travel burdens, etc.,” against “[t]he risks of prejudice
and possible confusion” that might result from consolidation.
Arnold v. Eastern Air Lines, Inc., 681 F.2d 186, 193 (4th Cir.
In a ruling last year denying a motion to amend in the FCA
case, this Court noted that these cases relate to an identical
time period and involve much of the same alleged conduct.
No. 66 at 5.
The Court explained:
In both actions, Plaintiff alleges that she was
treated unfairly by Johns Hopkins personnel,
particularly Dr. Kalloo; was retaliated against; was
constructively discharged; and, was sabotaged in her
efforts to find new employment. In one case she
alleges that these actions were taken because she
protested fraudulent billing but makes no reference to
any discriminatory motives. In the other, she alleges
that she was discriminated against because of her skin
color and ethnicity but makes no reference to any
hostility engendered by her opposition to Johns
Hopkins’ billing practices. While in a single action,
a plaintiff can plead in the alternative, it would be
highly prejudicial to Defendants to have to defend the
same conduct in two separate actions under two
Id. at 9.
The Court opined at that time that “these cases
should be consolidated at least for discovery, if not for all
further proceedings, including trial.”
The Court repeated
that opinion in a December 16, 2015, correspondence to counsel
in the Title VII case.
ECF No. 19 at 1 (noting “it would seem
advantageous to consolidate these actions”).
The cases already
have been consolidated for purposes of discovery and for an
unsuccessful settlement conference.
Despite her previous representation in the FCA case that
“Plaintiff does not oppose consolidating Case No. 13-cv-3630
with Case No. 12-cv-1953,” ECF No. 73 at 3, Plaintiff has
opposed the instant motion.
Her primary argument is that there
are different legal standards and elements of proof for the
claims brought in the two actions.
There is, however, nothing
unique about asserting different causes of action under
different legal theories in the same action where those causes
of action arise out of the same alleged course of conduct.
Plaintiff has, in fact, already done that in both of these
actions by combining her federal claims with different state law
For the reasons previously stated, the Court finds that
consolidation is the most efficient, most cost effective, and
most equitable means by which these actions can be resolved,
whether by dispositive motions or by trial.
Accordingly, IT IS
this 16th day of September, 2016, by the United States District
Court for the District of Maryland, ORDERED:
(1) That the Motions to Consolidate these actions, ECF No.
97 in Civil Action No. WMN-12-1953 and ECF No. 32 in Civil
Action No. WMN-13-3630, are GRANTED;
(2) That the above-captioned cases are hereby consolidated
for all purposes under Civil Action No. WMN-12-1953, and all
future pleadings are to be captioned and filed in that action;
That all pleadings filed heretofore in Civil Action
No. WMN-13-3630 shall be deemed to have been filed in Civil
Action No. WMN-12-1953;
That Civil Action No. WMN-13-3630 is hereby
ADMINISTRATIVELY CLOSED; and
(5) That the Clerk of the Court shall transmit a copy of
this Memorandum and Order to all counsel of record.
William M. Nickerson
Senior United States District Judge
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