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Dashnaw v. Usen

June 21, 2006


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Randolph F. Treece U.S. Magistrate Judge


Presently before this Court is a Motion to Consolidate the above entitled case with Lisa Gentile v. Dr. Nirmal Parikh, D.K Shah, M.D. PC d/b/a Grand Street Medical Associates, case no. 05-CV-1184. Dkt. No. 7, Mot. to Consolidate, Angela Dashnaw Aff., dated Mar. 1, 2006, Mem. of Law & Exs. Both of these cases are Title VII litigations assigned to the Honorable Gary L. Sharpe, United States District Judge, and this Court. Both Defendants in this case vigorously oppose this Motion to Consolidate. Dkt. No. 20 (Defendant Shah), Robert D. Cook, Esq., Affirm., dated Apr. 13, 2006 & Mem. of Law ; Dkt No. 22 (Defendant Usen) Edward R. Hopkin, Esq., Affirm., dated Apr. 14, 2006, with Exs. & Dkt. No. 23, Mem. of Law. Plaintiff Dashnaw submitted a reply to the Defendants' Opposition. Dkt. No. 24, Steven Gottlieb, Esq., Aff., dated Apr. 23, 2006. For the reasons stated below, Dashnaw's Motion to Consolidate is denied.


For the purposes of this Motion, the allegations within the respective Complaints are presumed to be true. Further, it may aid our understanding of the commonality in these two cases if the principal actors in both of these actions are initially identified:

! Defendant Grand Street Medical Associates (Grand Street) is a medical care and treatment facility located in Kingston, New York. ! Defendant D.K. Shah, M.D., (Shah) is the founder and director of Grand Street. ! Plaintiff Angela Dashnaw (Dashnaw) was employed at Grand Street from July 2003 to September 25, 2003, as a Customer Service Representative or Telephone Receptionist. ! Plaintiff Lisa Gentile (Gentile) was employed at Grand Street from February 12, 2001 until October 9, 2003, as a Telephone Receptionist. ! Defendant Nirmal Parikh, M.D., (Parikh) is an associate physician who was hired in or about January 1998. ! Defendant Moses Usen (Usen) was hired on June 23, 2003, as an Office Manager and was eventually promoted to Executive Administrator on August 18, 2003, becoming the supervisor over all staff. ! John Betaudier (Betaudier), a potential witness, was employed at Grand Street as an Office Administrator until September 30, 2003. When Dashnaw was first hired, Betaudier served as her direct supervisor.

Dkt. No. 22, Def. Shah's Affs.

A. Dashnaw's Complaint

Although Dashnaw claims she was sexually harassed and subjected to a hostile working environment by her immediate supervisor, Usen, commencing within two weeks of starting her employment with Grand Street continuing until the day she quit on September 25, 2003, she identifies within her Complaint three incidences of sexual harassment. Dashnaw alleges that on or about August 28, 2003, Usen forcibly kissed her on the mouth without her permission, which she reported to Betaudier, her then supervisor. She alleges that shortly after Betaudier reported this incident to Shah, he was terminated and his duties and responsibilities were assigned to Usen. She further alleges that on September 22, 2003, Usen called her into his office, locked the door and turned off the lights. Usen then yanked down the front of her blouse and attempted to kiss her breast while he brushed up against her. Two days later, on September 24, 2003, during a conversation between them, Usen placed his hand on Dashnaw's chest and told her that he "missed" her. Dashnaw asserts that her employer, D.K. Shah and Grand Street Associates were advised of Usen's conduct but did nothing to deter or correct the sexual harassment or hostile working environment. Moreover, Defendants Shah and Grand Street assigned Usen to address all employment issues, including matters of sexual harassment. Dkt. No. 1, Dashnaw Compl. & Dkt. No. 7, Dashnaw's Aff.

B. Gentile's Complaint

Ms. Gentile had been employed by Grand Street for a longer period of time than Dashnaw. She states in her Complaint that Dr. Parikh engaged in sexual harassment and created a hostile working environment from October 2002 until she left the medical center on October 9, 2003. Gentile alleges that Parikh committed a number of offensive and inappropriate acts toward her such as brushing up against her, slapping her buttocks and running his hands from her shoulder down to her buttocks. Although she complained to her manager, Grand Street failed to take any appropriate corrective action to stop the sexual harassment and to eliminate the hostile working environment. See generally Gentile's Am. Compl.*fn1


Dashnaw seeks to consolidate her lawsuit with Gentile's claims pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure:

When actions involving a common question of law or fact are pending before the court, it may order a joint hearing or trial of any or all the matters in issue in the actions; it may order all the actions consolidated; and it may make such orders concerning ...

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