DETROIT (AP) – Who pays the bill? The Michigan Supreme Court is hearing the case of a judge who so far is on the hook for a $1.1 million award to a former Dearborn court employee.

The Supreme Court must decide whether Judge Mark Somers is responsible or Dearborn taxpayers. Justices are hearing arguments Tuesday.

Julie Pucci was awarded $734,000 and legal fees in 2011. She said her job as deputy court administrator was eliminated after she complained that Somers was sending religious messages on stationery and proselytizing from the bench.

Before trial, Somers signed an order making Dearborn taxpayers responsible for any liability in the firing of employees. But the Michigan appeals court says Dearborn can’t be forced to pay Pucci because the verdict against Somers was in his “personal capacity.”

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