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04 June 2011

Jury awards $460,000 verdict to former court employee, finds she was unjustly terminated by judge

(WXYZ) Dearborn, Mich. - A Wayne County jury said a local judge unjustly fired a court employee, and awarded her more than $460,000.

Action News Investigator Bill Proctor first told you about the controversy stemming from Dearborn’s 19th District Court last February. Former court probation officer Simone Calvas said in a lawsuit that Dearborn Chief Judge Mark Somers retaliated against her following complaints that he frequently invoked his Christian religion from the bench.

A jury disagreed that Calvas was fired because of retaliation, but they said that she was fired without just cause.

Calvas said she’d like to get her old job back as a probation officer, but she’s not sure the court will bring her back. Judge Mark Somers spoke to Action News by phone today. He said he was pleased that the jury dismissed the retaliation claim, which said was full of “outlandish allegations.” He said an appeal of the verdict is likely.

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