Southfield attorney Mike Morse, who has become a household name in Metro Detroit, thanks to his ominpresent TV ads and billboards, has lost his latest round in a personal legal battle.
The Michigan Court of Appeals has revived lawsuits against Morse, who is accused of sexually assaulting two women who worked at his Oakland County law firm, Mike Martindale of The Detroit News reports. Judges in Oakland and Wayne counties had ruled the allegations against Morse needed to be handled privately through arbitration. Both workers had signed documents agreeing to arbitration to settle job-related disputes.
But the appeals court overturned those rulings, saying an arbitration clause for employees at Morse’s firm doesn’t fit these cases. In a 2-1 ruling, the court concluded that sending the complaints to arbitration “would effectively perpetuate a culture that silences victims of sexual assault and allows abusers to quietly settle these claims behind an arbitrator’s closed door," the paper says.
Judges Kathleen Jensen and Jane Beckering were in the 2-1 majority. Judge Colleen O’Brien dissented.
Morse is accused of grabbing the breasts of a paralegal, Jordan Smits, and a receptionist, Samantha Lichon, in separate incidents. He denies the allegations. Morse's attorney Deborah Gordon said she disagreed with the court's ruling.
Morse's office phone number is 855-Mike-Wins.