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Dearborn – A judge says he’s open to settlement talks after he lost a key decision that will cost him more than $1 million.

Dearborn Judge Mark Somers says 25 percent of his pay will continue to be garnished to pay off a $734,000 verdict, plus legal fees, won by a former court employee. But with interest accruing, it’s hard to make a dent.

Julie Pucci accused Somers of illegally firing her in 2006. He said it was a legitimate court reorganization, but Pucci won the trial.

Pucci and Somers wanted the city of Dearborn to pay the verdict. But the Michigan Supreme Court last week let an appeals court decision stand in Dearborn’s favor.

Pucci’s lawyer, Joel Sklar, says he’s “mystified” that the Supreme Court didn’t write a full opinion.

Somers says it would be “foolish” to turn down possible settlement talks with Pucci.

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