Federal Lawsuit Against Brennan Dismissed
April 11, 2019
A federal lawsuit has been dismissed that had been filed against a suspended Livingston County judge.
Former 53rd District Court Administrator Francine Zysk had filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Detroit last year against 53rd District Court Judge Theresa Brennan and Livingston County Chief Judge Miriam Cavanaugh. Judge Cavanaugh was later dismissed from the case, leaving Judge Brennan as the sole defendant in the lawsuit.
But in an order issued last month, U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland dismissed the lawsuit after he determined that the lawsuit did not, “allege facts that rise to the level of constituting an adverse action” and that it, “also fails to state a claim for defamation...” Zysk had sought damages in excess of $75,000 for harm to her reputation in the community and economic loss, as well as emotional distress after alleging she had been retaliated against for her “subpoenaed, truthful testimony” during Judge Brennan’s divorce proceedings in regard to what were described as “infidelities and other scandalous behavior.”
Brennan was alleged to have engaged in extra-marital affairs with at least two individuals including now retired Michigan State Police Detective Sean Furlong. Furlong was the chief prosecution witness during the highly publicized double murder trial of Jerome Kowalski in January of 2013, for which Brennan was the judge. The Judicial Tenure Commission determined late last year that Brennan had engaged in misconduct while on the bench, which led the Michigan Supreme Court to order her suspended with pay while they determine whether or not she should be removed from the bench. Brennan also faces separate felony charges related to alleged untruthful testimony during her divorce proceedings and tampering with evidence.
Zysk left her county post last August and is now employed by Total Court Services while also serving as an adjunct instructor at Madonna University. (JK)