- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 7, 2017

DETROIT (AP) - The Michigan Supreme Court has heard arguments in a dispute over who’s responsible for paying $1.1 million to a former Dearborn court employee.

A lawyer for Dearborn’s 19th District Court says Judge Mark Somers exceeded his authority when he signed an order making taxpayers responsible for liability in employment matters.

Somers was sued by Julie Pucci (POO’-chee). She says she lost her job after she complained that Somers was sending religious messages on stationery and proselytizing from the bench. He says her dismissal was part of a staff reorganization.

A jury awarded $734,000 to Pucci, and legal fees were added.

Pucci’s attorney, Joel Sklar, says the Supreme Court should uphold the autonomy of a District Court chief judge to indemnify employees in legal disputes. Justices heard arguments Tuesday.

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