Three women who were fired for being pregnant are suing their former boss to stop him from using bankruptcy court to avoid paying them $4.2 million.
Melissa Rodriguez of Yonkers, Marlena Santana of the Bronx and Yasminda Davis of Roselle Park, New Jersey, filed an adversary proceeding Dec. 10 in federal bankruptcy court in White Plains against Bruce J. Paswall of Katonah.
They are asking the court to stop Paswall from discharging a court judgment they won in 2015 “for repeated and illegal pregnancy discrimination.”
Paswall’s bankruptcy attorney, Gary R. Gjertsen, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Paswall, a chiropractor who owned and operated G.E.B. Medical Management Inc. in Manhattan, employed the women in 2006 and 2007.
They sued him and his company in 2008 in Bronx Supreme Court, alleging that he had imposed intolerable work conditions, mocked and shunned them after they became pregnant and created false scenarios to justify firing them.
He told Santana “not to have children” and told Davis “you better not get pregnant,” according to evidence presented at trial, and he subjected Rodriguez to “forced medical testing.”
In 2015, a jury awarded them nearly $6.2 million.
Paswall asked for a new trial, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to support the jury’s verdict. In 2017, the Bronx judge denied a new trial but reduced the verdict to $4,192,938.
The court also held him in contempt for violating an order not to transfer any assets.
In September, Paswall petitioned bankruptcy court for Chapter 7 liquidation, declaring assets of $18,028 and liabilities of $4.8 million. G.E.B. Medical Maintenance was no longer in business but he was running Enhanced Chiropractic Solutions PLLC in Yorktown Heights.
His petition lists $3.5 million owed to the three women and describes the debts as disputed.
Last month, Mark S. Tulis, a U.S. Trustee overseeing Paswall’s bankruptcy case, sued his adult sons, Grant and Reid Paswall, for $650,000.
The trustee claims that after the jury awarded money to the three women, Bruce Paswall transferred ownership of his $1.1 million house to his sons for no payment, and they accepted the transfer “with the intent to hinder, delay and defraud creditors.”
By filing for bankruptcy, the court automatically stopped enforcement of the Bronx court judgment and granted Bruce Paswall protection against creditors.
Davis, Rodriguez and Santana argue that collection of debts incurred by willful and malicious injury, as a result of discriminatory firing, may not be stopped.
The women are represented by Manhattan attorney Scott A. Lucas.