Dearborn Judge Forced to Pay for Former Employee's Lawsuit
Judge Mark Somers' wages will be garnished to fund a $1.2 million lawsuit judgment in favor of former court employee Julie Pucci.
A Dearborn district judge will see his wages garnished due to the court's denial of his motion to stop the enforcement of payment of a $1.2 million lawsuit judgment pending his appeal to a higher court.
Following a June 2011 jury decision to award former 19th District Court employee Julie Pucci a total of $732,000 plus court costs after she was fired from the court, Dearborn judge Mark Somers appealed the judgment and requested a stay without bond, assuring the court that the City of Dearborn held responsibility for payment of the lawsuit.
However, the court denied the request on Dec. 16, finding that the "demonstrated resistance by the City of Dearborn to acknowledge any responsibility for Judge Somers' conduct or the resulting liability for his constitutional violations" meant that Somers had to pay the $1.2 million.
The city's legal department has repeatedly stated that the suit was against Somers–not the court-and therefore payment of legal decisions against him fell on his back, or on the state of Michigan because district judges are state employees.
According to statements on the matter provided by Pucci's legal counsel, Somers counsel met with them to discuss a settlement, which he claimed the city had agreed to pay for. As a result, Pucci and attorney Joel Sklar agreed to put a hold on any wage garnishments.
But Sklar and Pucci said they learned on Jan. 18 that the city had no intention to fund any settlement, which led them to approve the wage garnishments formerly issued by the court.
According to the Dearborn Press and Guide, a hold was immediately placed on Somers' next paycheck from the city for $3,399.13.
“I hope he has $1.2 million to satisfy the judgment," Sklar told the Press and Guide. "But with the city still not acknowledging any liability I had no choice but to move forward and secure Ms. Pucci’s judgment."