Andrew Shirvell, a former Michigan assistant attorney general, has filed a federal lawsuit against Deborah Gordon, the attorney representing former Michigan Student Assembly President Chris Armstrong.
Shirvell wrote in a press release issued early this morning that he is suing Gordon for “tortuous interference with a business relationship, defamation and invasion of privacy.” Additionally, he claims — in the lawsuit filed Friday — that Gordon aided in the termination from his position on Nov. 8, 2010 by falsely influencing the investigation against him within the Department of the Attorney General.
“As my complaint makes clear, I have uncovered a significant amount of information during the past year that shows that Deborah Gordon has deliberately set out to destroy me by any means necessary,” Shirvell wrote. “It is particularly shocking that an attorney like Deborah Gordon, who has made a career out of championing wrongfully-terminated employees, would so viciously and maliciously interfere with my employment in order to ensure that I was terminated from my job.”
Shirvell was fired from his position following a claim issued by Gordon that Shirvell had made several homophobic remarks against Armstrong — the first openly gay MSA president — on his blog “Chris Armstrong Watch.” Shirvell claimed on his blog that Armstrong, who graduated this past spring, was trying to instill a “radical homosexual agenda” while leading MSA.
Shirvell, who recently moved to New York, filed the federal lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Gordon is a resident of Michigan, and the case will be based on diversity jurisdiction, the press release states.
Shirvell claimed in the release that Gordon embarked on a “year long campaign of intimidation and defamation” against him.
Armstrong filed a lawsuit against Shirvell in April that alleges the former assistant attorney stalked and defamed him. The lawsuit requests damages in excess of $25,000 and was filed in the Washtenaw County Circuit Court.
In April, Shirvell filed a countersuit against Armstrong for allegedly inflicting personal and economic damage against him for aiding in his termination from his position with the state. In May, Shirvell subsequently filed a motion to rescind various claimsArmstrong made against him in the April lawsuit. The motion sought to rescind claims of stalking, infliction of emotional distress, abuse of process, defamation and one count of invasion of privacy.
“Unlike Mr. Armstrong, I have suffered real economic damage, including significant loss of income, future earnings and the right to enjoyment of my livelihood,” Shirvell wrote in a May 10 statement to The Michigan Daily. “And, I have suffered those damages as a direct result of Mr. Armstrong’s wrongful conduct. I look forward to successfully litigating my claims in the court.”
Gordon told the Daily in May that Shirvell’s termination was due to “wrong-doing on his part” — citing examples such as using his work computer to write his blog and lying to former Attorney General Mike Cox about his behavior. Gordon said at the time that Shirvell should rescind his statements against Armstrong and publicly apologize for his transgressions.
“What Mr. Shirvell really needs to do is take responsibility for what he has done and the lies he has published,” Gordon said at the time. “He needs to retract them, he needs to apologize and he needs to try to move on with his life.”
In last night’s press release, Shirvell wrote that he anticipates support for his suit against Gordon.
“Ms. Gordon needs to be held accountable for her course of conduct against me, which I find beyond reprehensible,” Shirvell wrote. “No other member of the State Bar of Michigan would ever put up with what I have put up with from Ms. Gordon over the past year. I look forward to holding Deborah Gordon accountable for her atrocious actions and libelous statements.”
Gordon and Shirvell could not be reached for interviews as of 1 a.m. last night.