United States District Court, D. Maryland
LISA CLARK, et al.
MUBASHAR A. CHOUDRY, M.D., et al
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
pending and ready for resolution in this case is a partial
motion to dismiss filed by Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants Lisa
Clark, Heather Donnelly, and Aminda Gailey
("Plaintiffs" or "Counter-Defendants").
(ECF No. 12). The issues have been briefed, and the court now
rules, no hearing being deemed necessary. Local Rule 105.6.
For the following reasons, Counter-Defendants' partial
motion to dismiss will be granted.
sued Defendants/Counter-Claimants Dr. Mubashar Choudry
("Dr. Choudry"), Advanced Vascular Resources, LLC
("AVR"), AVR Management, LLC, and Advanced Vascular
Resources of Hagerstown, LLC (collectively
"Defendants" or "Counter-Claimants")
alleging, inter alia, discrimination based on sex
and retaliatory wrongful discharge. Plaintiffs' complaint
arises from alleged sexual harassment by Dr. Choudry while
Plaintiffs were employed by AVR. (ECF No. 1).
Choudry formed AVR with his brother, Javed Choudry ("Mr.
Choudry"), and his former business partner, Barbara
O'Dare. (ECF No. 10 ¶ 11). Defendants
employed Ms. Clark as a paralegal from March 2013 through
December 2014, Ms. Gailey as a receptionist from October 2013
through December 2014, and Ms. Donnelly as a marketing and
promotion employee from March to December 2014. Defendants
allege financial troubles required termination of
approximately forty employees, including Plaintiffs, in or
around December 2014. (Id. ¶¶ 19, 21).
Defendants concede that each plaintiff reported Dr.
Choudry's sexual harassment before AVR terminated their
employment, but Defendants deny that any sexual harassment
occurred and allege that AVR decided to terminate
Plaintiffs' employment before learning of the sexual
harassment allegations. (Id. ¶ 40).
counterclaim stems from correspondence Plaintiffs'
attorney sent to Dr. Choudry, which stated Plaintiffs'
allegations of sexual harassment, made a settlement demand,
and threatened to file "administrative charges, civil
suits, criminal charges, and claims with the professional
licensing boards" if the parties did not reach a
settlement. (Id. ¶¶ 46-47). The letter
allegedly said, "[W]e will pursue all means necessary to
ensure that Dr. Choudry is not only barred from practicing
medicine, but that he will be behind bars."
(Id. ¶ 47). According to Defendants,
After their termination, Plaintiffs and their attorneys began
a campaign to enlist current and former employees of AVR in
their scheme. They did this by constantly contacting former
and current employees of AVR by phone. During these
conversations, and in voice mail messages, Plaintiffs told
the employees about Dr. Choudry's alleged sexual
harassment of them and encouraged them to contact
[Plaintiff's attorney]. Plaintiffs stated it would be
‘financially worthwhile' to join their lawsuit.
Plaintiffs also told employees that if they join the lawsuit
they [could] make money.
(Id. ¶ 48). Defendants allege that Plaintiffs
and their attorney contacted employees at their AVR office
during work hours, which was "disruptive."
pursued criminal and administrative means to report Dr.
Choudry's alleged sexual harassment. Ms. Donnelly first
filed a police report in Texas. (Id. ¶¶
52-53). Plaintiffs then filed complaints of sexual
harassment with the Maryland Board of Physicians and the
District of Colombia Medical Licensing Board. (Id.
subsequently commenced this civil action, filing a forty-five
count complaint against Defendants. (ECF No. 1). In their
complaint, Plaintiffs allege: discrimination based on sex
under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Maryland Human
Rights Act, and the Montgomery County Code; wrongful
discharge; battery; tortious interference with a contractual
relationship; tortious interference with an economic
relationship; civil conspiracy; aiding and abetting;
intentional misrepresentation, concealment, or nondisclosure;
negligent hiring, retention, and supervision; intentional
infliction of emotional distress; false imprisonment; and
violations of the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Act.
filed an answer (ECF No. 9) and a five-count counterclaim
against Plaintiffs alleging: civil conspiracy; defamation;
abuse of process; tortious interference with an economic
relationship; and extortion (ECF No. 10). Defendants aver
that Plaintiffs commenced this action as "the
culmination of their lengthy and futile efforts to extract a
large cash settlement from Dr. Choudry and AVR."
(Id. ¶ 9). Defendants further allege:
Plaintiffs schemed together and with others to extort monies
from Dr. Choudry and AVR. Plaintiffs did this by making false
accusations of sexual harassment against Dr. Choudry. In
furtherance of their scheme, the Plaintiffs and agents made
false statements to current and former employees of AVR, to
law enforcement, and the medical licensing boards. Those
efforts failed and Plaintiffs now seek to use this case to
obtain monies to which they are not entitled.
filed an answer and contemporaneously filed a partial motion
to dismiss Count III (abuse of process) and Count V
(extortion) of the counterclaim. (ECF Nos. 11; 12).
Defendants have not ...