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Posted on Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 5:44 p.m.

Judge dismisses Andrew Shirvell lawsuit against former U-M student body president

By Cindy Heflin

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comments from Andrew Shirvell and edited to clarify the reason for Shirvell's lawsuit and information about his activities on campus.

A federal judge this week threw out a lawsuit filed by former assistant attorney general Andrew Shirvell against the first openly gay president of the University of Michigan student body, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Shirvell had alleged in the lawsuit that former student body president Chris Armstrong had defamed him. The judge also ruled that Armstrong’s suit against Shirvell could go forward, the newspaper reported.

Thumbnail image for Andrew-Shirvell-2.jpg

Andrew Shirvell

Armstrong's lawyer, Deborah Gordon, said Judge Arthur Tarnow's decision means the case against Andrew Shirvell will go to a jury trial, The Associated Press reported.

Shirvell kept a blog accusing Armstrong of pushing a "radical homosexual agenda" and appeared at a Michigan Student Assembly meeting to protest Armstrong and appeared on campus holding signs — including one with a rainbow with a swastika drawn over it. Shirvell was at one time banned by university officials from stepping foot on campus but the order was lifted.

iIn a statement emailed to and other media outlets Tuesday, Shirvell said he was disappointed in the ruling.

"I disagree with the ruling and I will appeal it at the appropriate time," he said. He said the judge had ruled that it was for a jury to decide whether the statements on his former blog are protected by the First Amendment. “At trial, I will provide overwhelming evidence that Armstrong was a public official/public figure at the time that the statements at issue were made. Moreover, I will provide overwhelming evidence that the statements at issue were true or substantially true or that they constituted constitutionally-protected opinion speech. “We live in the United States. If I believe that Chris Armstrong is a radical homosexual activist, I have a constitutional right to express that opinion.”

Armstrong sought a personal protection order against Shirvell, which he later dropped before asking the state bar association to disbar Shirvell. Washtenaw County prosecutors also denied a request for stalking charges to be brought against Shirvell.

Former Attorney General Mike Cox fired Shirvell in November 2010.

Armstrong filed a lawsuit against Shirvell in April, seeking more than $25,000 in damages.

Shirvell has also sued Gordon, alleging she interfered with the attorney general’s internal investigation and that she made false statements against him. The judge threw out the interfering claim but has not ruled on the false statements.



Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 1:29 a.m.

The bottom line here is if Shirvell had disputed actions taken by Armstrong as president, rather than attacking Armstrong personally, Shirvell would not be in this position.


Tue, Aug 7, 2012 : 10:11 p.m.

Banned from the Ann Arbor U of M campus because of outrageous actions? Fired by Mike Cox?? LOL! I'd leave town too dude!

Gretchen Ridenour

Wed, Apr 18, 2012 : 4:02 p.m.

Give it up Mr. Shirvell. Do something positive with your law degree.


Wed, Apr 18, 2012 : 11:54 a.m.

I attended the hearing and Shirvell has a point about there being some bias in the decisions of the Jude. In particular I would cite the following; The judge dismissed Shirvell's claim that he was defamed by such statements as that Shirvell had "bullied" or "attacked" Armstrong because those were opinions and could not be proven true or false and thus should not go to the jury. On the other hand Shirvell asked that claims that his statements such as that Armstrong pursued a "radical homosexual agenda" or that he was "racist" for joining the Order of Angel could go to the jury. How can those statements be proven true or false any more than bullied or attacked. There may be other statements that are more proveable but the judge would not rule to exclude any of the statements claimed as defamatory by Armstrong. I began to follor Shirvell's case when he was given a trespass warning by the campus police. I believe the trespass warning was used as a poor man's PPO rather than following through the court procedings and getting an actual PPO. This deprived Shirvell of judicial review and I believe is typical of the abuse of the trespass warnings by campus police.


Tue, Aug 7, 2012 : 10:15 p.m.

This case was brought to court because of the actions of Shirvell. His attempts to change the subject are foolhardy. The U of M Police have a duty to protect their students, faculty, and visitors from the illegal actions of others. Enforcing trespassing laws seems like a reasonable reaction to Shirvell's unreasonable actions.


Wed, Apr 18, 2012 : 12:56 a.m.

I guess asking to be treated like a human being constitutes a radical agenda.

Ricardo Queso

Wed, Apr 18, 2012 : 12:29 a.m.

Tainted love.

Ron Granger

Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 11:04 p.m.

I wish this matter would just shrivel up and go away.

kt rix

Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 10:04 p.m.

wow. this guy is something else.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 10:03 p.m.

We have had some really scary fellows as Assistant State Attorneys General lately. Shirvell, for one. And the UM attorney who botched the child porn investigation was also held that position before beign hired by UM. What is going on in the AG's office in Lansing that they give so much power to such deranged individuals?


Wed, Apr 18, 2012 : 1:35 p.m.

What is going on is the GOP AG's put ideology above competence.


Wed, Apr 18, 2012 : 3:10 a.m.

Look at the recent AG's for your answer.

David Briegel

Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 9:57 p.m.

Just another right wing zealot who doesn't even understand the concept of justice much less the law.


Tue, Aug 7, 2012 : 10:19 p.m.

You are right David. Shirvell can't admit that HE is the one with the radical agenda. He clearly thinks he has a right to try and prevent any homosexual from holding a position of authority. He has a real problem understanding concepts like "rights" and "equal protection". Perhaps he should choose a new career outside the field of law? Or maybe Pat Robertson's ACLJ has an opening?


Wed, Apr 18, 2012 : 12:11 p.m.

David that statement is so out of touch with reality.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 10:58 p.m.

Any time you start a sentence with "Just another....." assume you are profiling. If you are okay with that, carry on....