Appeals Court: Judge Overstepped in Ordering Michigan President to Testify

August 23, 2019

A federal judge overstepped his authority when he tried to force the University of Michigan president to appear in court for a settlement conference in a sexual assault lawsuit, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled on Friday.

Arthur Tarnow, the federal district judge, had insisted that Michigan's president, Mark Schlissel, appear in court to explain the university's sexual assault policies and procedures for adjudicating sexual misconduct, a highly unusual legal move.

But in the unanimous ruling from the panel of three judges, they said Tarnow's reasoning was not valid.

"The university offered to send someone with full settlement authority," the ruling stated. "Thus, the district judge abused his discretion when he ordered a specific high-ranking state official to serve as a party's representative."

The lawsuit is still ongoing.

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