MORGANTOWN – Three women who filed lawsuits against a West Virginia University neurosurgery chairman have agreed to mediation, along with WVU and its board of governors.
Angela Maset, Tiffany Edwards and Elizabeth Hunter Baldwin agreed to a May 8 mediation during a hearing before Monongalia Circuit Judge Russell Clawges Jr. that was held on April 7.
The three sexual harassment suits, along with one discrimination suit filed by Terrence Julien, were filed in Monongalia Circuit Court against Dr. Charles Rosen, West Virginia University Hospitals and West Virginia University Board of Governors in June and were consolidated into one case on Dec. 8.
On Feb. 3, WVU Board of Governors filed a motion to dismiss, claiming that it did not employ Maset and could not be held vicariously liable for the alleged termination of her employment and on March 30, Clawges denied the motion to dismiss.
"Ms. Maset, Ms. Edwards, and Ms. Baldwin are encouraged by and have accepted the defendants' offer to engage in early mediation," said Sean W. Cook, the plaintiffs' attorney. "The unlawful conduct of Dr. Rosen has been substantiated by an internal investigation conducted by WVU."
Cook – an attorney with the Charleston firm of Meyer, Ford, Glasser & Radman PLLC – said they have always viewed these cases as a question of damages and not liability.
"We will approach mediation in good faith and hope that the defendants will do the same in order to achieve an equitable resolution," he said.
Maset was employed as a licensed practical nurse, Baldwin as a nurse practitioner and Edwards as an administrative secretary with WVU Hospitals in the Department of Neurosurgery and claimed Rosen's behavior consistently created a sexually hostile work environment within the department.
Rosen's conduct included offensive sexual jokes; stories and comments; sexual flirtation; sexually oriented statements containing graphic sexual content; unwelcome sexual communication; and sexual innuendos, according to the suit.
The woman claimed they were sexually harassed and discriminated against based on their sex, which violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act.
They also claimed they were wrongfully discharged in retaliation for expressing their intentions to report Rosen's wrongdoing.
Tuesday’s hearing was also set to consider separating Julien’s case from the other three, but the parties agreed to ask Clawges to postpone consideration of that motion by WVU until after mediation.
Julien was a professor of neurosurgery at WVU.
Clawges granted the request and set a May 13 hearing to consider that matter and to set the case timeline.
Monongalia Circuit Court case number: 14-C-879