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Finlay Resigns, Catazaro and Ramasar Suspended -- Update: Catazaro and Ramasar Fired


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19 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

It matters big time.  Many of SAB's students are young children.  Distributing salacious photos of them could be considered trafficking in child pornography,  a serious Federal crime which can land perpetrators in prison for many years.  No one is making that accusation.

Right, no one. Including me. I was addressing the point that it matters not one bit whether someone is 18 or approaching 30, 40 or 80 for that matter. All adults have a right to and an expectation of privacy. 

Edited by rkoretzky
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3 minutes ago, fordhambae said:

It can easily become misconstrued, especially in the media to make the public believe that underage persons were victims in this lawsuit.

If it is misconstrued, that's hardly proof that...

1 hour ago, fordhambae said:

The lawsuit was written deliberately to invoke this exact response.

As @Helene points out, the use of the phrase is pretty clear in context. The lawyer can hardly be blamed if people misread — and even if he should've been clearer, that doesn't mean his failure to be so was ill-intentioned.

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7 minutes ago, fordhambae said:

One of your readers wrote "Students, too? I'm sick to my stomach."

It can easily become misconstrued, especially in the media to make the public believe that underage persons were victims in this lawsuit.

 

I wrote that quote, see below:

 

22 hours ago, ABT Fan said:

OK, I've read part of the amended version (honestly, I skimmed a lot of the legal jargon).

Students, too?

I'm sick to my stomach. 

Happy opening night.

 

I misinterpreted that in the complaint.

My other sentence, which was a separate thought, "I'm sick to my stomach", still stands in regards to everything the defendants are accused of.

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13 minutes ago, fordhambae said:

 I would argue that every action he is taking is a very well planned strategy.

And you may be right. My point was that you’ve as yet offered no real evidence to accompany your argument, making it a mere assertion.

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1 minute ago, nanushka said:

And you may be right. My point was that you’ve as yet offered no real evidence to accompany your argument, making it a mere assertion.

1) Files lawsuit against the company days after the company takes action to suspended individuals and announce another retires.

2) Adds defendants to lawsuit only after the company takes additional action to terminate the suspended.

3) Adds donor's name to lawsuit, which they've known all along and had the individuals texts of from the beginning.

4) Adds school to lawsuit as a separate entity after previously claiming the school and company are the same.

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8 minutes ago, fordhambae said:

1) Files lawsuit against the company days after the company takes action to suspended individuals and announce another retires.

2) Adds defendants to lawsuit only after the company takes additional action to terminate the suspended.

3) Adds donor's name to lawsuit, which they've known all along and had the individuals texts of from the beginning.

4) Adds school to lawsuit as a separate entity after previously claiming the school and company are the same.

I fail to see how any of that is relevant to the question of whether (as you asserted) “the lawsuit was written deliberately to invoke [evoke] this exact response” — i.e. the confusion of “student” and “former student.”

Also, for (1) and (2) the company may well have had a heads up that the lawsuit/changes were coming, thus provoking their action. Your argument relies on the “post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacy.

Edited by nanushka
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1 minute ago, nanushka said:

I fail to see how any of that is relevant to the question of whether (as you asserted) “the lawsuit was written deliberately to invoke [evoke] this exact response” — ie the confusion of “student” and “former student.”

My apologies, I thought you were responding to a different message I wrote.

 The lawsuit states that the school had a duty to safeguard Miss. Waterbury and other women from Chase Finlay etc, asserting that these men were, as Mr. Merson stated "using as a hunting ground". Do we have proof of when they met and how they met and was she a former student at the time? 

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3 minutes ago, fordhambae said:

My apologies, I thought you were responding to a different message I wrote.

...

Do we have proof of when they met and how they met and was she a former student at the time? 

No problem, sorry for the confusion.

I certainly don’t, but as I understand the process such evidence would typically not be presented until the discovery phase. I assume Waterbury has a lot of evidence — though perhaps not sufficient to support every claim. We’ll see (on not).

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8 minutes ago, fordhambae said:

My apologies, I thought you were responding to a different message I wrote.

 The lawsuit states that the school had a duty to safeguard Miss. Waterbury and other women from Chase Finlay etc, asserting that these men were, as Mr. Merson stated "using as a hunting ground". Do we have proof of when they met and how they met and was she a former student at the time? 

The complaint states that they "met at NYCB",  which a casual reader could reasonably infer that they both worked there,  but they didn't.  She could have been sitting on the fountain or standing on the mezzanine.  If they had met at SAB it would have been included as it bolsters her case.

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28 minutes ago, fordhambae said:

1) Files lawsuit against the company days after the company takes action to suspended individuals and announce another retires.

2) Adds defendants to lawsuit only after the company takes additional action to terminate the suspended.

3) Adds donor's name to lawsuit, which they've known all along and had the individuals texts of from the beginning.

4) Adds school to lawsuit as a separate entity after previously claiming the school and company are the same.

And brazenly,  in the amended complaint,  Merson uses the fact that the dancers were suspended and then fired by the company against NYCB.

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40 minutes ago, fordhambae said:

1) Files lawsuit against the company days after the company takes action to suspended individuals and announce another retires.

2) Adds defendants to lawsuit only after the company takes additional action to terminate the suspended.

3) Adds donor's name to lawsuit, which they've known all along and had the individuals texts of from the beginning.

4) Adds school to lawsuit as a separate entity after previously claiming the school and company are the same.

Re:  #1: Scharf's statement to the NYT does not say when Merson contacted them to try to negotiate for a settlement.  I suspect they wouldn't have filed the suit until after they received a decision on the settlement, because the main advantage to NYCB would have been to negotiate an NDA and to keep all of this out of the press.  Once the lawsuit was made public, the cat was out of the bag.  In addition, by waiting for the Company's decision, they would have time to evaluate the decision.  They wouldn't have been the only ones to make the point that the Company's initial reaction was too lenient.  When it announced the suspensions, the Company never made the argument that they stopped there -- and they said nothing about any intention of firing Finlay -- because the contract limited them in how they could discipline for off-hours activities.

Re: #2: I'm not sure why the Company's decision to fire would support the legal case, and it is not unusual to add defendants.  There are other reasons besides pure strategy to do so, like finding new information that supports their case.  

Re: #3: I don't know what their reasoning is for deciding whether and when to release anyone's name, but there are many reasons besides simple strategy, like getting more information.

Re: #4: The original complaint conflated SAB and NYCB into one corporate entity, although it was clear they meant both when they mis-identified SAB and NYCB, Inc.  Adding the school separately corrects that mistake.

That said, I would hope that Merson has a good strategy and tactics: his job is not to satisfy anyone's aesthetics, but to get the biggest win for Waterbury and make money and enhance his reputation.  That's usually what professionals do when they have a business.  I don't understand the ins and outs, because the right strategy for trying to obtain a settlement may not be the right strategy for winning a court case, just as NYCB's defense during the arbitration suit may be inconsistent with its defense in the lawsuit, if it goes to trial. 

16 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

The complaint states that they "met at NYCB",  which a casual reader could reasonably infer that they both worked there,  but they didn't.  She could have been sitting on the fountain or standing on the mezzanine.  If they had met at SAB it would have been included as it bolsters her case.

The amended complaint faults the "encourage" and "required" interaction between male NYCB dancers and female SAB students.  I don't know any specifics about how this might work or whether it was at SAB or NYCB, but, presumably, that will come out in discovery and court, if it gets that far. 

I have no idea how specifically the court sticks to the details in the complaint, once it goes to discovery.  

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1 hour ago, Helene said:

The amended complaint faults the "encourage" and "required" interaction between male NYCB dancers and female SAB students.  I don't know any specifics about how this might work or whether it was at SAB or NYCB, but, presumably, that will come out in discovery and court, if it gets that far. 

Do company members participate in rehearsals and partnering classes,  and if they do,  are they volunteers or is it a requirement of their contract?

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33 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

Do company members participate in rehearsals and partnering classes,  and if they do,  are they volunteers or is it a requirement of their contract?

 I can't speak to past the past five years or so, but I know that in the past, whenever there was a shortage of males for partnering classes, company members would be asked to attend. This was done in a very informal way, certainly not required. It can be very helpful for students to have company members participate. Yes, girls would be expected to partner with whomever they were told to. Yes, some students are star struck when any company member is in class.  At the same time, if a company member and a teenage student decided to see each other outside of class time, I don't see how that is the fault of SAB. I don't know if Ms. Waterbury was living at the dorm. I have heard that there are strict curfews and a lot of oversight. My understanding about the Waterbury/Finlay relationship is that it started after she left the school. I just want to add that one of the great things about being in a school with a company attached, is that you have a chance to see and work with company members. This is an amazing asset that I would hate to see disrupted. Sara Mearns and Ashley Bouder both have mentioned taking classes at the school, even as principal dancers.

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46 minutes ago, vipa said:

 I can't speak to past the past five years or so, but I know that in the past, whenever there was a shortage of males for partnering classes, company members would be asked to attend. This was done in a very informal way, certainly not required. It can be very helpful for students to have company members participate. Yes, girls would be expected to partner with whomever they were told to. Yes, some students are star struck when any company member is in class.  At the same time, if a company member and a teenage student decided to see each other outside of class time, I don't see how that is the fault of SAB. I don't know if Ms. Waterbury was living at the dorm. I have heard that there are strict curfews and a lot of oversight. My understanding about the Waterbury/Finlay relationship is that it started after she left the school. I just want to add that one of the great things about being in a school with a company attached, is that you have a chance to see and work with company members. This is an amazing asset that I would hate to see disrupted. Sara Mearns and Ashley Bouder both have mentioned taking classes at the school, even as principal dancers.

Many company members are the same age or just a bit older than advanced students at SAB.  New members would have been recent SAB students anyway,  so it wouldn't be unusual or improper for there to be relationships between them.  While the students may be starstruck and awestruck by their presence,  the company members are not in positions of authority over them.

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9 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

Many company members are the same age or just a bit older than advanced students at SAB.  New members would have been recent SAB students anyway,  so it wouldn't be unusual or improper for there to be relationships between them.  While the students may be starstruck and awestruck by their presence,  the company members are not in positions of authority over them.

That's good point, On Pointe. Anyway, I just don't see how SAB or NYCB is at fault if Waterbury and Finlay met at the school.

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55 minutes ago, vipa said:

Anyway, I just don't see how SAB or NYCB is at fault if Waterbury and Finlay met at the school.

If, as the complaint states, NYCB had absolutely no code of conduct for employees in their interactions with school students, that would seem to be unusual. That would also seem to be different from most institutions wherein an organization’s roles in loco parentis and, separately, as employer of older individuals are intertwined.

Edited by tutu
typo
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1 hour ago, On Pointe said:

Many company members are the same age or just a bit older than advanced students at SAB.  New members would have been recent SAB students anyway,  so it wouldn't be unusual or improper for there to be relationships between them.  While the students may be starstruck and awestruck by their presence,  the company members are not in positions of authority over them.

It's pretty typical for there to be strict no-fraternization rules when a school has underage teens as well as those who are college age.   From what I understand there is a very strict no fraternization rule between the HS students at UNCSA and the college students in the dance program.  They are expected to maintain a strict separation when they are not in class or rehearsals together.

If SAB/NYCB doesn't have a policy that prevents socializing between the school and the company that was a problem waiting to happen.  Evenmoreso if the fraternization wasn't between the school and the apprentices but was allowed between the teens at SAB and principals who were 5-10 years older than the students.

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6 minutes ago, meatball77 said:

It's pretty typical for there to be strict no-fraternization rules when a school has underage teens as well as those who are college age.   From what I understand there is a very strict no fraternization rule between the HS students at UNCSA and the college students in the dance program.  They are expected to maintain a strict separation when they are not in class or rehearsals together.

If SAB/NYCB doesn't have a policy that prevents socializing between the school and the company that was a problem waiting to happen.  Evenmoreso if the fraternization wasn't between the school and the apprentices but was allowed between the teens at SAB and principals who were 5-10 years older than the students.

I think we are reacting as if Merson's assertions are true.  But as the saying goes,  if it ain't broke,  don't  fix it.  While there have been unequal relationships between dancers and students in the past,  there isn't  any evidence presented that it is either rampant or much of a problem.  It would be difficult to craft a policy forbidding,  for example,  an eighteen year old NYCB dancer from dating an eighteen year old SAB student.  They could even be legally married in New York.

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8 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

I think we are reacting as if Merson's assertions are true.  But as the saying goes,  if it ain't broke,  don't  fix it.  While there have been unequal relationships between dancers and students in the past,  there isn't  any evidence presented that it is either rampant or much of a problem.  It would be difficult to craft a policy forbidding,  for example,  an eighteen year old NYCB dancer from dating an eighteen year old SAB student.  They could even be legally married in New York.

why would it be difficult?  Why not fix it? Dating has gone on between company members and SAB students for ages it is true, one of my relatives dated a company member when they were 18 and at SAB and the company member was 28 in the 1990s.

 

That doesn't mean it is a good idea.

Edited by aurora
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5 minutes ago, aurora said:

why would it be difficult?  Why not fix it? Dating has gone on between company members and SAB students for ages it is true, one of my relatives dated a company member when they were 18 and at SAB and the company member was 28 in the 1990s.

 

That doesn't mean it is a good idea.

I chose eighteen for a reason.  Still quite young,  but a legal adult nevertheless.  I agree that an eighteen year old dating a twenty-eight year old is not a good idea,  but it's not illegal.  A sixteen year old with a twenty-eight year old is illegal,  and a really bad idea!  In that case the law supersedes any school or company policy anyway.

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