United States District Court, D. Maryland
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
William M. Nickerson Senior United States District Judge
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) and ECF No. 32 in WMN-13-3630 (the
Title VII case). 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 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. 1982).
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. ECF 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 separate theories.
Id. at 9. The Court opined at that time that
“these cases should be consoliDated: least for
discovery, if not for all further proceedings, including
trial.” Id. 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.
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 claims.
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:
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;
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
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
That the Clerk of the Court shall transmit a copy of this
Memorandum and Order to all counsel of record.