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Lawsuit of the Day: Chris Armstrong v. Andrew Shirvell

Former Michigan prosecutor Andrew Shirvell might be gone from the Michigan attorney general’s office, but he has not been forgotten. Shirvell, an outspoken opponent of homosexuality, has just been hit with a lawsuit — by Chris Armstrong, the ex-president of the University of Michigan student body.

Armstrong is suing Shirvell in Michigan state court for stalking, invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, and abuse of process. His lawsuit seeks more than $25,000 in compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages and injunctive relief (to enjoin Shirvell from, well, being such a creep).

As you may recall, Shirvell seemed obsessed with the young, beauteous, and openly gay Armstrong, devoting an entire blog to criticism of Armstrong and following Armstrong around, day and night. As explained by Armstrong’s lawyer, Deborah Gordon, Shirvell demonstrated a “bizarre personal obsession” with Armstrong, reflected in numerous blog and Facebook postings in which Shirvell asserted that Armstrong was advancing a “radical homosexual agenda.” [FN1]

Let’s take a closer look at the complaint….

The Detroit Free Press identifies some highlights of the complaint — like this one, which begins the piece:

As Andrew Shirvell prepared to graduate from Ave Maria School of Law, a group of administrators and faculty raised concerns that he “lacked the character and fitness” necessary to be a lawyer, a new lawsuit alleges.

Interesting — sometimes you can spot ‘em early. Law students, please keep an eye on your shady classmates (and feel free to report their antics to Above the Law). Catching unethical characters while they’re still in school can prevent them from becoming lawyers, avoiding unfortunate episodes that bring the profession into disrepute.

Here are some of the claims from Armstrong’s lawsuit, as summarized by the Free Press (with our commentary in brackets):

The suit alleges Shirvell said Armstrong:

• Was “Satan’s representative.”

• Was “the Harvey Milk of Michigan.” Milk was the first openly gay man elected to public office in California. He was later assassinated. [To Shirvell: That’s a bit of a stretch, no? Student government isn’t as important as the people who are in it think.]

• Engaged in a homosexual orgy in his dorm room. [In Shirvell’s dreams?]

• Was an “outright anti-Christian bigot.”

• Was recruiting U-M freshmen “to join the homosexual lifestyle.” [Does being gay and looking hot constitute “recruitment”?]

• Lied to the U-M Board of Regents. [Shirvell’s an expert on lying; it’s what got him fired by the Michigan AG.]

• Ascribes to the teachings of the Ku Klux Klan and is the “grand dragon” of the U-M KKK. [Who knew the KKK was down with the Gay Gay Gay?]

• Was a “radical homosexual activist.”

The lawsuit also says that Shirvell repeatedly showed up at Armstrong’s Ann Arbor residence unannounced and uninvited.

You can check out the full complaint here (PDF). Feel free to point out interesting tidbits in the comments.

There has been no reaction to the lawsuit yet from Shirvell, who is apparently living in upstate New York these days. We’ll keep you posted on how this litigation progresses.

[FN1] In Shirvell’s defense, was it really “bizarre” to become obsessed with Chris Armstrong? Simply put, some people are worth obsessing over. Check out pictures of this young Adonis. Wasn’t this just like a Midwestern version of Death in Venice?

U-M student leader alleges harassment in lawsuit [Detroit Free Press]
Chris Armstrong Sues Ex-Michigan Official Andrew Shirvell On Stalking Charges [AP via Huffington Post]
Former Mich. Assistant AG Sued for Defamation by Student He Denounced as ‘Radical Homosexual’ [ABA Journal]
Christopher Armstrong v. Andrew Shirvell: Complaint [PDF]

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