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159492-3 - Samantha Lichon v Michael Morse; Jordan Smits v Morse

159492

 

 

Samantha Lichon,

 

Sima Patel

 

Plaintiff-Appellee,

 

v

(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)

(Oakland – Kumar, S.)

 

Michael Morse and Michael J. Morse, PC,

Defendants-Appellants.

Robert Riley

I.W.Winston

_____________________________

 

 

159493

Jordan Smits,

 

 

Sima Patel

 

Plaintiff-Appellee,

 

v

(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)

(Oakland – Kumar, S.)

 

Michael Morse and Michael J. Morse, PC,

 

Robert Riley

                            I.W. Winston

Summary

Plaintiffs Samantha Lichon and Jordan Smits were employed by Michael J. Morse, PC, the defendant law firm.  When they worked at the firm, they signed a Mandatory Dispute Resolution Procedure Agreement (MDRPA).  The MDRPA applies “to all concerns you have over the application or interpretation of the Firm’s Policies and Procedures relative to your employment, including, but not limited to, any disagreements regarding . . . discrimination or violation of other state or federal employment or labor laws. . . .  This Procedure includes any claim against another employee of the Firm for violation of the Firm’s Policies, discriminatory conduct or violation of other state or federal employment or labor laws.”  The plaintiffs filed separate lawsuits alleging that they were sexually harassed by attorney Michael Morse.  The defendants filed motions for summary disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(7) in each case, alleging that the MDRPA required arbitration of the plaintiffs’ claims.  Both trial courts agreed and dismissed the plaintiffs’ complaints.  The Court of Appeals consolidated the plaintiffs’ appeals and, in a split published opinion, reversed the trial courts and held that the plaintiffs’ claims were not subject to arbitration.  The Supreme Court has granted leave to appeal to address whether the claims set forth in the plaintiffs’ complaints are subject to arbitration. ​