Supreme Court refuses appeal in anti-gay defamation case
The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a former Michigan assistant attorney general who lost an anti-gay defamation suit filed by an openly gay University of Michigan student body president.
The justices on Monday let stand a ruling earlier this year by the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that affirmed a $3.5 million judgment against former assistant state attorney general Andrew Shirvell, the Associated Press reports.
Shirvell was fired in 2010 for waging an anti-gay campaign on social media against then-student government president Chris Armstrong.
Armstrong, who sued Shirvell for defamation, false light invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and stalking, was awarded $4.5 million in damages by a jury in 2012 (it was reduced to $3.5 million on appeal). The 6th Circuit rejected Shirvell’s motion for a new trial.
Shirvell claimed he was exercising his free speech rights in his campaign against Armstrong. He also claimed his speech was protected because Armstrong was a public figure.