United States District Court, E.D. New York
Raymond A. Townsend, Appellant,
Geralyn Ganci, Appellee.
Appellant Raymond A. Townsend, pro se.
Appellee Geralyn Ganci, pro se.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
F. BIANCO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
instant case is a pro se appeal by Raymond A.
Townsend (“Townsend” or “appellant”)
from the May 16, 2016 summary judgment order of the Honorable
Carla E. Craig, United States Bankruptcy Judge, holding that
the debt owed by appellant to pro se appellee
Geralyn Ganci (“Ganci” or “appellee”)
is non-dischargeable pursuant to the Bankruptcy Code, 11
U.S.C. § 523(a)(6). See In re Townsend, 550
B.R. 220 (Bankr. E.D.N.Y. 2016). The debt at issue stems from
a civil judgment following a jury trial before this Court in
Ganci v. U.S. Limousine Service Ltd., et al.,
10-CV-3027 (JFB) (AKT) (E.D.N.Y.) (the “Civil
Case”). On September 16, 2014, the jury found Townsend
liable to Ganci for employment discrimination, in violation
of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
et seq. (“Title VII”), and New York law.
(Civil Case, ECF No. 119.) The jury awarded Ganci $450, 000
in compensatory damages and $100, 000 in punitive damages
against Townsend, and it also found that Townsend was not
liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress
(“IIED”). (Id.) The Court subsequently
set aside the punitive damages award after determining that
punitive damages against Townsend were not available under
Title VII or New York law (id., ECF No. 143), and it
granted Ganci $167, 478.50 in attorneys' fees and $3, 168
in costs, Ganci v. U.S. Limousine Service Ltd., 2015
WL 1529772, at *8 (E.D.N.Y. Apr. 2, 2015).
Clerk of the Court entered final judgment in the Civil Case
on April 8, 2015. (Civil Case, ECF No. 148.) Thereafter,
appellant filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on July 27, 2015.
See Townsend, 550 B.R. at 223. Appellee then
commenced an adversary proceeding seeking a determination
that the Civil Case judgment is non-dischargeable (the
“Adversary Proceeding”), id. at 224,
which led to this appeal.
reasons set forth below, having conducted a de novo
review of the Bankruptcy Court's decision, the Court
concludes that appellant's arguments are without merit
and affirms the order of the Bankruptcy Court in its
Court summarizes the facts and procedural history relevant to
the instant appeal.
filed suit against Townsend in the Civil Case on July 1, 2010
alleging claims of employment discrimination based on sexual
harassment, hostile work environment, and retaliation; as
well as claims for IIED and negligent infliction of emotional
distress. (Civil Case, ECF No. 1.) Townsend moved for summary
judgment and spoliation sanctions on December 1, 2011
(id., ECF No. 38), and Ganci cross-moved for summary
judgment on January 19, 2012 (id., ECF No. 43). In
an oral ruling on September 10, 2012, this Court denied the
parties' motions. (Id., ECF No. 54.) Of note,
the Court held that a rational jury could find for Ganci on
her employment discrimination claims because she had
“stated under oath that Mr. Townsend sexually assaulted
her on one occasion, that he sent unwanted, unsolicited, and
unwelcome text messages and voice mails of sexually explicit
nature over an extended period of time and attempted to
compel sexual relations with her during that extended period
of time.” (Id., ECF No. 57 at 12:17-22.)
Civil Case proceeded to a six-day jury trial from September
3, 2014 to September 16, 2014 on plaintiff's employment
discrimination and IIED claims. (See id., ECF Nos.
105-16.) The jury returned a verdict on September 16, 2014,
finding for Ganci on the employment discrimination claims and
for Townsend on the IIED claim. (Id., ECF No. 119.)
On the verdict form, the jury responded affirmatively to,
inter alia, the following questions:
1. Did plaintiff prove, by a preponderance of the evidence,
that Raymond Townsend subjected her to offensive acts or
statements about sex?
2. Did plaintiff prove, by a preponderance of the evidence,
that she did not welcome the offensive acts or statements,
which means that plaintiff did not directly or indirectly
invite or solicit them by her own acts or statements?
3. Did plaintiff prove, by a preponderance of the evidence,
that the offensive acts or statements were so severe or
pervasive that they materially altered the terms and
conditions of her employment?
4. Did plaintiff prove, by a preponderance of the evidence,
that a reasonable person-not someone who is overly
sensitive-would have found that the offensive acts or
statements materially altered the terms and conditions of the
person's employment, which means that a reasonable person
would have found the working conditions hostile and abusive?
5. Did plaintiff prove, by a preponderance of the evidence,
that she herself believed that the offensive acts or
statements materially altered the terms and conditions of her
employment, meaning that plaintiff believed that her work
environment was hostile or abusive?
7. Did plaintiff prove, by a preponderance of the evidence,
that she was constructively discharged?
13. Did plaintiff prove, by a preponderance of the evidence,
that Raymond Townsend acted with malicious intent to violate
plaintiff's rights, or with reckless disregard of
plaintiff's rights, such that ...