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NIMAI GHOSH v. NEW YORK UNIV. MED. CTR.

July 28, 1983

DR. NIMAI K. GHOSH, Plaintiff, against NEW YORK UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER, Defendant.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: MOTLEY

MOTLEY, C.J.

This is an action pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5 et seq., and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Plaintiff, Dr. Nimai K. Ghosh (Dr. Ghosh), a native of India, alleges that defendant NYU Medical Center (NYU) discriminated against him with respect to his employment at NYU on the grounds of race, color, religion and national origin. Dr. Ghosh alleges that NYU discriminatory (1) failed to employ him; (2) terminated his employment; (3) failed to promote him from noncompensatory to "compensatory" status; and (4) failed to pay him a salary during certain periods (see Complaint at PP9 and 10).

 The case is now before the court on NYU's motion for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(b). NYU asserts that Dr. Ghosh's "charge" of discrimination was not timely filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and that Dr. Ghosh's cause of action under 42 U.S.C. section 1981 is barred by the applicable statute of limitations. For the reasons set forth below, NYU's motion is granted in part and denied in part.

 BACKGROUND

 Dr. Ghosh's employment with NYU began on or about June 15, 1970. *fn1" He asserts that he was employed "as a full-time member of the faculty." *fn2" According to NYU, Dr. Ghosh was employed as a "research associate of Rody P. Cox, M.D. [(Dr. Cox)], a faculty member of the University's School of Medicine." *fn3" Dr. Ghosh claims that he "worked on various matters" in his employment with NYU, and worked on research projects with Dr. Cox and with a Dr. Joe Dancis "in the later years." *fn4"

 NYU asserts that Dr. Ghosh's "relationship with the University and Dr. Cox initially terminated in September, 1978. . . ." *fn5" Dr. Ghosh, on the other hand, asserts that he was "employed by N.Y.U. from September 1, 1978 to August 31, 1979, as a member of the faculty . . ., as a part-time employee with the title of Research Associate Professor of Medicine." *fn6"

 In support of this claim, Dr. Ghosh has submitted a copy of a letter dated February 26, 1979 and signed by L. Jay Oliva, Vice President for Academic Affairs. The letter reads in pertinent part:

 It is with pleasure that we confirm your appointment to the faculty of the New York University Medical Center for 1978-79, as approved by the Medical Center Board of Trustees, with the title of

 Research Assistant

 Professor of Medicine

 Service: Part time

 Effective: September 1, 1978

 Exhibit 1 to Ghosh Affidavit. Dr. Ghosh asserts that he performed research for NYU from September 1978 to December 1978 under the supervision of Dr. Cox. He states the he "did not receive compensation for this work since [Dr.] Cox informed [him] that the specific grants supporting [his] salary had not been renewed or funded." *fn7"

 It is not disputed that Dr. Ghosh again began to receive remuneration for work on a part-time basis under Dr. Cox beginning in December of 1978. *fn8" Accoarding to Dr. Ghosh, Dr. Cox stated that this research would be funded by "a new grant funded by the National Institute of Health, together with other grants which NYU already had." *fn9" At that time, Dr. Cox was "considering accepting a position with Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio [(Case Western)]." Dr. Cox planned to move the National Institute of Health (NIH) grant funds to Case Western if he accepted the position. *fn10" A letter dated December 6, 1979 and addressed to Dr. Ghosh is appended to NYU's motion papers. It states in pertinent part:

 I am considering an offer from [Case] Western Reserve School of Medicine and may leave NYU in July, 1979, in which case your employment under this grant will terminate. . . .

 [s/] Rody P. Cox, M.D.

 Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology

 Director, Division of Human Genetics

 Exhibit J to Cox Affidavit (emphasis added).

 Dr. Cox accepted the offer from Case Western and, he asserts, "so informed Dr. Ghosh in January or at the latest during the first week of February, 1979." *fn11" Dr. Ghosh alleges that, "[c]contrary to what Dr. Cox has stated in his affidavit . . ., he did not tell me my employment would be terminated when he left." *fn12" The NIH grant funds were subsequently transferred to Case Western. (See Cox affidavit at P8, and Exhibits K, L, and M to Cox affidavit.)

 Dr. Ghosh asserts that, on or about June 15, 1979, [Dr.] Cox told me that he had had a discussion with Dr. Saul Farber, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Medicine and Acting Provost and Dean of the School of Medicine, and that [Dr.] Farber had informed him that although [Dr.] Cox was transferring his work to Case Western Reserve University, [Dr.] Farber would make arrangements to continue my employment on other matters after [Dr.] Cox left. . . . Also, he told me that although my salary from his grant would no longer be available, Dr. Farber had assured him that he would find some other way to pay me. *fn13"

 Dr. Ghosh alleges that, in reliance on this representation, he continued working at NYU from June 30, 1979 to January24, 1980. He states that "Dr. Farber was aware that I was not being compensated for the hours I was working and I was termed temporarily "non-compensatory." *fn14"

 Dr. Ghosh asserts that he spoke with Dr. Farber in July of 1979 "about my status as a "non-compensatory employee." According to Dr. Ghosh, "Dr. Farber told me that N.Y.U. would resume paying my salary if I could secure a position with a doctor in another department of the Medical Center." *fn15" He states that he then made attempts to secure a "transfer to a department that was funded by other grants." *fn16" Dr. Ghosh recounts the following sequence of events:

 (1) In "May or June of 1979" Dr. Charles Hollander, Director of the Division of Endocrinology, offered him a funded position, but Hollander "later withdrew ...


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