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Pugh fights $250K settlement in student sex case

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

Charles Pugh is arguing in a court filing that he does not have to pay his victim $250,000 because Detroit Public Schools is already paying the former student money to settle a claim of sexual harassment, battery and emotional distress.

On Nov. 9, a federal court jury ordered the former Detroit City Council president to pay $250,000 to the victim, who claimed Pugh offered him money in exchange for a sex video while he was a high school student in Pugh’s mentorship program at DPS.

A week earlier, the school district agreed to pay the victim $350,000 to settle its portion of the lawsuit, making the total award $600,000.

In a Nov. 13 filing with the federal court, Pugh’s attorney argues the former DPS student is entitled to recover only one award from his claims, citing a single-injury rule in Michigan.

“Plaintiff suffered a single injury and is only allowed one recovery,” attorney Marc Deldin wrote to U.S. District Court Judge David M. Lawson.

The victim’s attorney, William Seikaly, wrote in a filed response that DPS’s award is not offset by Pugh’s.

“Plaintiff did not suffer a single or indivisible injury, Pugh’s intentional conduct cannot be offset by less-culpable conduct by his co-defendants (DPS),” Seikaly wrote.

He then asks the judge to enter a judgment of $250,000 against Pugh, in accordance with the jury’s verdict, and state that the judgment is not subject to any offset by a settlement with DPS.

The young man, now 20, met Pugh in the Charles Pugh Leadership Academy program at DPS in 2012 when he was 17 and Pugh was council president.

The victim claims Pugh harassed and convinced him to produce a sex video, and offered cash for oral sex after spending a year grooming the student during the mentorship program.