Judge rules University can ask former student about sex life in Daniels case

Sunday, September 15, 2019 - 1:00pm

A judge has ruled that it was alright for University of Michigan lawyers to ask former student Andrew Lipian about his sex life during a deposition

A judge has ruled that it was alright for University of Michigan lawyers to ask former student Andrew Lipian about his sex life during a deposition Buy this photo
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A judge has ruled that it was acceptable for University of Michigan lawyers to ask former student Andrew Lipian about his sex life during a deposition for his lawsuit against University voice professor David Daniels and the University itself. 

 

On Oct. 24, 2018, former Music, Theatre & Dance graduate student Andrew Lipian filed a lawsuit against University of Michigan voice professor David Daniels and the University, alleging Daniels drugged and assaulted him, and that the University was aware of the alleged assault but did not respond properly to the allegations. Lipian claimed the alleged assault happened on March 24, 2017.

 

Daniels denied the claims made by Lipian and other students who accused Daniels of sexual misconduct. He was placed on paid leave in August 2018, and the University is now in the process of firing the professor. 

 

The federal lawsuit against the University is ongoing, and during his deposition, Lipian detailed the night he alleges he was sexually assaulted. He said he went over to Daniels’s apartment and drank with him but did not feel comfortable driving home under the influence.

 

Lipian claimed Daniels offered him a bed and what Daniels said was a Tylenol PM pill for sleep aid, but what turned out to be an Ambien prescription sleeping pill. Lipian said he blacked out and remembered Daniels fondling him. 

 

During a deposition in July, the University’s attorney Brian Schwartz asked Lipian, who has a wife and three children, about his sexual history.

 

“Have you ever had a homosexual or bisexual experience? ... Have you ever engaged in sexual contact of any time with another man?” Schwartz asked, according to MLive

 

Deborah Gordon, Lipian’s attorney, claimed Schwartz’s questions about Lipian’s personal life were irrelevant. Gordon said gender played a significant role in these questions, and if Lipian were a heterosexual woman accusing a man of sexual assault, they would not have been asked.

 

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mona K. Majzoub sided with the University and ruled the questions were valid and relevant as Lipian mentioned in his complaint that he was heterosexual and had a wife. 

 

In addition, new text messages between Lipian and Daniels have been released from 2017. The conversations, which went on for months after the alleged incident, were flirtatious and often included heart emojis, according to MLive. Lipian claimed he only sent the texts to save his career, because he was scared of the control Daniels had over him in the music industry.

 

Schwartz argued Lipian did not show all of the relevant messages, so Mazjoub instructed both Lipian and Daniels to provide their phones to look for evidence of deleted text messages.

 

Daniels and his husband, Scott Walters, are both facing sexual assault charges in Texas.