Sexual Assault Case Against Mike Morse Goes to an Arbitrator
June 21st, 2017, 2:13 PM
A sexual assault lawsuit filed against Southfield attorney Mike Morse by a former employee will be resolved through private arbitration rather than in a public courtroom, saving Morse from some potentially embarrassing details going public.
Oakland County Circuit Judge Shalina Kumar ruled Wednesday that arbitration, not the court, was the proper forum to settle the matter, reports John Wisely of the Detroit Free Press.
Samantha Lichon sued Morse last month for $15 million, claiming he groped her breasts while she worked as the firm's receptionist. But the judge found that Lichon had signed an employment agreement requiring her to resolve disputes through arbitration, rather than with a lawsuit, even those involving workplace violence.
The case will now be argued privately before an arbitrator, who is usually an attorney or retired judge.
Lichon's attorney, Geoffrey Fieger, argued that the employment agreement gives Morse a license to assault employees, the Freep reports.
Deborah Gordon, Morse's attorney, hopes to shift another similar lawsuit filed by a former Morse employee to arbitration as well.
Two other pending sexual assault lawsuits filed against Morse are from women who were not employees, which means there is no requirement for arbitration. Morse could quietly settle those cases out of court, should he choose to, with a caveat that none of the details be discussed publicly.