Dearborn officials told residents Monday that they do not have authority over the outcome of lawsuits filed against Dearborn Chief Judge Mark Somers.
The city’s participation in the lawsuits was questioned during a City Council meeting when several residents expressed concerns that recent judgments against Somers would cost the city and its taxpayers.
Residents also questioned why the lawsuits were not settled before going to trial.
“A library near my house is closing and there are pools closing and we’re losing so much, yet it doesn’t seem like Judge Somers or the city is trying to stop it,” said resident Bobbie Justice.
But council members and Mayor Jack O’Reilly said there is little the officials can do.
“The judge is a state employee, so we have no authority over the cases,” said Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly.
Somers was not at the meeting.
Last month, two former employees of the 19th District Court were awarded damages in separate civil rights lawsuits against Somers.
Former probation officer Simone Calvas was awarded $463,820 in her case against Somers and the 19th District Court. The court is funded by the city.
Former deputy court administrator Julie Pucci was awarded $734,361 in her lawsuit.
O’Reilly said the city is not responsible for the judgment in the Pucci case because Somers was sued individually.
Krista Osada urged residents use the ballot box when Somers’ term ends in 2014.
“Don’t re-elect him,” Osada said.