MAHANANDIGARI et al v. TATA CONSULTANCY SERVICES et al
OPINION. Signed by Chief Judge Jose L. Linares on 8/2/2017. (ld, )
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
NAGA SANDHYA MAHANANDIGART &
MADHU SUDAN REDDY MAHANANDIGARI,
Civil Action No.: 16-8746 (JLL)
TATA CONSULTANCY SERVICES, et al.,
LINARES, Chief District Judge.
This matter comes before the Court by way of Plaintiffs Naga Sandhya Mahanandigari
(“Mrs. Mahanandigari”) and Madhu Sudan Reddy Mahanandigari’s (“Mr. Mahanandigari”)
Motion for Reconsideration (ECF No. 2$). Said Motion is for reconsideration of this Court’s June
19, 2017 Opinion granting Defendant Tata Consultancy Services’s (“TCS”) Motion to Dismiss
and Compel Arbitration. (ECF No. 26). Defendant has opposed said Motion (ECF No. 29), to
which Plaintiffs have replied. (ECF No. 32). The Court has considered the parties’ submissions
and decides this matter without oral argument pursuant Rule 7$ of the Federal Rules of Civil
For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies Plaintiffs’ Motion for
Mr. and Mrs. Mahanandigari are husband and wife currently residing in Dallas, Texas.
(ECF No. 1-1, Complaint, “Compl.” at 1). Defendant TCS “is a multinational technology service,
This Background is derived from Plaintiffs’ Complaint, which the Court must accept as true at this stage of the
proceedings. SeeAlston V. Countiywide fin. Coip., 585 F.3d 753, 758 (3d Cir. 2009).
consulting and business solutions company headquartered in Murnbai, India” (ECF No. 19 at 3)
with a principal place of business in Edison, New Jersey. (Compi.
employees of TCS. (Id.
Both Plaintiffs are former
¶] 6, 21).
In August 2015, Mrs. Mahanandigari began her employment with TCS, which required her.
to relocate from Dallas, Texas (her culTent residence) to Cincinnati, Ohio. (Id.
thereafter, TCS lost an account “due to competition.” (Id.
8). Plaintiffs allege that two TC$
employees, Mr. Praveen Chekuri and Mr. Janaki Raman, directed Mrs. Mahanandigari to meet
with the former client to get the account back. (Id.
Plaintiffs further allege that Mr. Chekuri
told Mrs. Mahanandigari to “do anything it takes’ to get the account back[,]” but Mrs.
Mahanandigari was unable to do so. (Id.
Plaintiffs assert that Mr. Chekuri retaliated against Mrs. Mahanandigari, allegedly telling
her that she was not “beautiful enough,” she should have “worn a good looking dress,” “a man
and/or a Caucasian woman” would have gotten the account back, and TCS “must hire attractive
local women.” (Id.
11) (internal quotations omitted). Mr. Chinmay Tripathi, an employee of
allegedly said the same to Mrs. Mahanandigari. (Id.
12). Plaintiffs further assert
that Mr. Tnpathi added that “if [Mrs. Mahanandigari] needed a job, the way it works is totally
different[,]” that TCS “is a tough place for Indian wornen[,]” and that “men re-locate easier than
12-14) (internal quotations omitted). Mr. Raman allegedly said the same to Mrs.
“Subsequently, Mrs. Mahanandigari was [allegedly] not given any more work, was
instructed to locate back to Dallas, Texas for purported ‘project relocation’ reasons, with the
promise that relocation expenses would be reimbursed.” (Id.
16). Plaintiffs allege that TCS
never assigned Mrs. Mahanandigari work nor reimbursed her for the relocation expenses. (Id.
17-18). Plaintiffs further allege that TCS summarily terminated Mrs. Mahanandigari without
notice and “for no good reason.” (Id.
Thereafter, TCS allegedly “targeted Mr. Mahanandigari” to constructively discharge him
for his “wife’s failure to use her femininity and sexuality to persuade a client to return to [TCS].”
26). Specifically, Mr. Chekuri allegedly “reassigned Mr. Mahanandigari and forced
him to work more than eight (8) hours at a time, manning calls with India overnight without pay,
and also forc[ed] him to work after business hours and [on] holidays.” (Id.
that in an effort to make Mr. Mahanandigari fail, Mr. Chekuri assigned Mr. Mahanandigari to
numerous tasks that were not within his skill set, some of which were “personally related to his
wife’s former projects.”
Mr. Chekuri also allegedly spoke ill of Mrs.
Mahanandigari in front of Mr. Mahanandigari and other staff, making similar remarks as allegedly
made to Mrs. Mahanandigari herself. (Id.
Against this backdrop, Plaintiffs filed the instant action on October 18, 2016 in the Superior
Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County. (ECF No. 1). The Complaint asserted
nine causes of action for violations of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (Counts I-IV,
IX), breach of contract (Count V), breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing (Count
VI), loss of consortium (Count VII), and aiding and abetting violations of the New Jersey Law
Against Discrimination (Count VIII). (Compl.
Defendants removed the action from
the Superior Court of New Jersey to this Court, asserting diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
1332. (ECF No. 1 at 2). Thereafter, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss and Compel Arbitration
pursuant to federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). (ECF No. 19). The Court
granted said motion, compelling arbitration and dismissing all of Plaintiffs’ claims. (ECF No. 26).
In the Court’s
the Court set out to determine whether there was a valid arbitration
agreement and, if so, whether Plaintiffs’ claims fell within the scope of the arbitration agreement.
(ECF No. 26 at 4). The Court determined that arbitration was the appropriate avenue for this
litigation because Plaintiffs signed a valid arbitration agreement, and each of the claims fell
“squarely within the scope of the Arbitration Agreement.” (ECF No. 26 at 8). Plaintiffs now file
a Motion for Reconsideration of the aforementioned determination of this Court. (ECF No. 2$).
“[R]econsideration is an extraordinary remedy that is granted ‘very sparingly.” L. Civ. R.
7.1(i) crnt. 6(d) (quoting Brackett v. Ashcroft, No. 03-3988, 2003 WL 22303078, *2 (D.N.J. Oct.
7, 2003)) (emphasis added); see also Fellenz v. Lombard Investment Corp., 400 F. Supp. 2d 681,
683 (D.N.J. 2005). A motion for reconsideration “may not be used to re-litigate old matters, nor
to raise arguments or present evidence that could have been raised prior to the entry ofjudgment.”
F. Schoen/ld Asset Mgmt., LLC v. Cendant Corp., 161 F. Supp. 2d 349, 352 (D.N.J. 2001). To
prevail on a motion for reconsideration, the moving party must “set[
forth concisely the matter
or controlling decisions which the party believes the Judge or Magistrate Judge has overlooked.”
L. Civ. R. 7.1(1).
The Court will reconsider a prior order only where a different outcome is justified by: “(1)
an intervening change in controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence not available
previously; or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or prevent manifest injustice. N. River
Ins. Co. v. JGNA Reinsitrance, Co., 52 F.3d 1194, 1218 (3d Cir. 1995) (internal quotations
omitted). A court commits clear error of law “only if the record cannot support the findings that
led to that ruling.” ABS Brokerage Sen’s. v. Penson Fin. Sen’s., Inc., No. 09-4590, 2010 WL
3257992, at *6 (D.N.J. Aug.16. 2010) (citing United States v. Grape, 549 F.3d 591, 603—04 (3d
Cir. 2008)). “Thus, a party must
demonstrate that (1) the holdings on which it bases its request
were without support in the record, or (2) would result in ‘manifest injustice’ if not addressed.”
Id. “Mere ‘disagreement with the Court’s decision’ does not suffice.” Id. (quoting F. Schoenfetd,
161 F. Supp. 2d at 353). Moreover, when the assertion is that the Court overlooked something,
the Court must have overlooked some dispositive factual or legal matter that was presented to it.
See L. Civ. R. 7.1(i).
Plaintiffs argue that the Court’s Opinion granting Defendant TCS’s Motion to Dismiss and
Compel Arbitration failed to considei- the issue preclusion effect of the doctrine of res judicata.
(ECF No. 28 at 2). Plaintiffs assert that if the Court does
reconsider its decision, said decision
would create manifest injustice because the compelled arbitration of Mrs. Mahanandigari’s claims
would preclude those same issues from litigation of Mr. Mahanandigari’s claims. (Id.).
Plaintiffs made a similar argument in their opposition to Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss
and Compel Arbitration. (ECF No. 20 at 3-4). There, Plaintiffs argued that the arbitration of Mrs.
Mahanandigari’s claims would have claim preclusive effect on Mr. Mahanandigari’s claims. (Id.).
This Court stated that ruling in favor of said argument would be “inapposite to the Court’s analysis
with respect to the two-part inquiry” for whether to compel arbitration. (ECF No. 26 at 9). Even
had the issue been relevant, the Court dismissed, as a matter of law, the notion that Mrs.
Mahanandigari’s arbitrated claims would have a preclusive effect on Mr. Mahanandigari’s claims
because Plaintiffs failed to show the Court that Mr. Mahanandigari was a party or in privity to
Mrs. Mahanandigari’s arbitration. (Id. at 9-10).
Here, the same analysis forecloses Plaintiffs’ issue preclusion argument. The fact that the
necessary analysis for claim and issue preclusion are similar indicates that Plaintiffs could have
raised the issue in their original opposition. Plaintiffs cannot now seek to interject additional
arguments for this Motion for Reconsideration. See P. SchoenftdAssetMgmt., LLC, 161 F. Supp.
2d at 352. Furthermore, as this Court noted in its original Opinion, the application of issue
preclusion is irrelevant to the analysis of whether or not to compel arbitration. Plaintiffs failed to
cite to any law at the time they opposed Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss which would have
persuaded this Court to reach an opposite conclusion, and fail to do so in their Motion for
Moreover, even if issue preclusion were relevant, issue preclusion ordinarily does not apply
to a nonparty because the nonparty “has not had a ‘full and fair opportunity to litigate’ the claims
and issues settled in that suit.” Taylor v. Sturgell, 553 U.S. 880, 892 (2008). This nile applies
unless the nonparty is subject to an exception. See id. at $93. Plaintiffs argue that they meet the
parties in privity exception because they are married, they both worked for TCS, and their claims
arise out of a common set of facts. (ECF No. 28 at 5). However, Plaintiffs cite no case law
indicating that this would give rise to issue preclusion. Rather, Plaintiffs confuse dicta as a legal
test. (Id.). Plaintiffs have again not persuaded this Court that they are parties in privity or meet
any other exception to the general rule that issue preclusion does not apply to a nonparty.
Plaintiffs’ argument is inappropriate, beside the point, and without merit.
In short, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have failed to meet the reconsideration standard.
Their moving papers do not contain any intervening change in controlling law. Additionally,
Plaintiffs fail to raise any new evidence that was not previously available to them that would
require a different outcome. Finally, Plaintiffs simply cannot show that dismissal of the claims
led to a manifest injustice. Rather, Plaintiffs merely attempt to reargue the position they took when
they opposed the initial Motion to Dismiss, and attempt to raise a “new” argument, which is both
improperly raised at this juncture and essentially a repackaging of their original arguments.
Accordingly, Plaintiffs cannot carry their burden on this Motion for Reconsideration.
For the reasons above, the Court denies Plaintiffs’ Motion for Reconsideration.
appropriate Order accompanies this Opinion.
Judge, United States District Court
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