PATERSON, NJ – The City Council Wednesday night agreed to pay $30,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by 73-year-old doctor who says Paterson discriminated against her because of her age when municipal officials did not name her health officer several years ago.
In documents filed with the lawsuit, Jadwiga Warwas of Rutherford said she worked in the city’s health department from October 2003 through 2008 and had even received an extra $40,000 in February 2008 for her “exceptional performance” running the lead program.
The case documents say Warwas was a licensed physician in Virginia, but not in New Jersey. After being named director of Personal Health Services/Quality Assurance Control in March 20008, Warwas in court documents that Nilda Torres, the city’s human services director at the time, told her she would be named Health Officer as soon as the person in the position retired.
Instead, Warwas maintains, she was notified in December 2008 that the city no longer had enough funds to pay her and that she would be terminated at the end of the year. Warwas says she was locked out of her office. Her lawsuit also maintains that Paterson in January 2009 began looking for a new person for the job and ended up hiring someone, which she says undermined the city’s assertion that it no longer could afford to pay her.
Unlike many other lawsuits the city settles, this case actually began trial. But the council’s resolution says Paterson’s defense lawyer sought the settlement after the trial began. The resolution also says the settlement helped Paterson avoid being responsible for Warwas’ legal fees.