Second woman claims sex assault by attorney Mike Morse

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

A second sexual assault lawsuit has been filed against personal-injury attorney Mike Morse, this time by a former employee who is seeking $15 million in damages.

Samantha Lichon, 25, of Hazel Park filed a civil lawsuit against Morse on Wednesday in Oakland County, alleging Morse grabbed her in his law office and groped her breasts, grabbing her from behind and touching his groin to her rear side, while making audible sexual comments on multiple occasions and without her consent. No time frame of the alleged events were noted in the lawsuit.

Last month, a Novi woman, Renee Swain, filed a $10 million civil lawsuit against Morse alleging sexual assault.

According to the lawsuit filed by Lichon’s attorney, Geoffrey Fieger, against Morse and his firm, Lichon complained to her superiors at the law firm and to human resources about the allegations but no action was taken. Lichon was fired on Feb. 17 after she was unresponsive to Morse’s advances, according to the filing.

The lawsuit alleges Morse made such comments as: “You make me so hard,” “I want to take you into my office,” “I can’t wait to see you get wild,” “I’m a good time,” “Do you still have your Hooters shirt?” He also allegedly invited her to his hotel room on Dec. 12, 2015, via Facebook Messenger app.

On May 15, Lichon, who had been with the firm since 2015, was contacted by one of Morse’s attorneys, Derek Brackon, and asked if she was going to file a lawsuit against Morse, according to the lawsuit. Brackon pressured her not to take such action, the lawsuit alleges.

That was the same day news broke of allegations against Morse by Swain.

Lichon’s lawsuit alleges the law firm knew that Morse sexually harassed and assaulted other female employees and was having a sexual relationship with a member of his personal staff.

In an emailed statement, Morse said Lichon was employed as a receptionist for about 18 months until she was terminated for cause on April 7.

“She never made a complaint during the time she was employed at my firm. I employ approximately 145 people, about half of whom are women. I have been in business for two decades and I have never been sued. I am not going to continue to participate in Mr. Fieger’s media circus, or his bid to attract more attention to himself and encourage baseless lawsuits. These matters will be handled in court,” Morse said in the statement.

The lawsuit accused Morse and his firm of workplace sexual harassment, sexual assault and battery and negligent and intentional infliction of emotion distress.

Fieger on Wednesday said he could not say how often the harassment and assaults occurred on Lichon in the office, but they went on for some time and “people knew what was going on. They observed him doing this,” Fieger said.

“This was not an isolated occurrence. With Mike Morse, this is so pervasive. This is a verified complaint, she swore to this information. You are soon to see others (victims),” Fieger said.

Fieger noted that the first victim in the case, Swain, went to police before she hired an attorney.

“You are going to see a third and a fourth victim,” Fieger said.

In the first case involving Swain, the alleged incident occurred around 10 p.m. April 6 at Lelli’s Inn on the Green, where the woman had been dining with friends. Fieger also represents Swain.

Morse has fired back against those allegations, saying they are false and Swain’s lawsuit was an attempt to extort money from him and harm his reputation.

“People approach me to take selfies on a regular basis and I thought nothing of it when this woman asked,” Morse said earlier this month. “But there’s something else important I want to address. This lawsuit is a bogus, manufactured lawsuit and an attempt to extort money from me by the Fieger Law Firm.”

Also named in the complaint is restaurant owner Mark Zarkin, who is accused, along with Morse, of trying to encourage Swain not to file a complaint against Morse.

According to the lawsuit, Morse approached Swain, whom he had never met, and began a conversation at the restaurant. He asked to take a photo with Swain and her friends, then asked if she wanted to take a selfie with him, the complaint alleges.

Swain alleges that Morse grabbed her breasts and asked if that made the photo better. After telling her friends what happened, Swain went to the Farmington Hills Police Department that night to report the alleged assault, according to the lawsuit.