New assessor defends firing

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Morgan said email ‘was just girls in bikinis ... something you would see going out here to the lake or the beach’

By Damon Lawrence

Roane County Property Assessor David Morgan got fired from a job in the private sector over what he said in a deposition was deemed an sexually explicit email.
Morgan is suing the Villages of Center Farm L.P., claiming it is responsible for an ankle injury he suffered in March of 2006.
He was deposed by Villages of Center Farm attorney David Hill in May.   
In the deposition, Morgan said he worked for Exedy America Corp. from January to November of 2006.
“Why did you leave Exedy?” Hill asked Morgan.
“I was terminated,” Morgan responded.
“What was the reason for that termination?” Hill asked.
“The official reason was for receiving sexually explicit emails, according to the guy who terminated me,” Morgan said.
Hill continued to question Morgan about the email, which Morgan said was sent to him from a friend.
“At that time had you been aware that Exedy had a policy against receiving or sending sexually explicit emails?” Hill asked.
“Yes, sir,” Morgan responded. “And again, I didn’t find that sexually explicit.”
Morgan said the email “was just girls in bikinis.”
“I didn’t find that sexually explicit,” he said. “It’s just something you would see going out here to the lake or the beach.”
Repeated phone calls to Morgan were not returned by deadline Tuesday. He sent a text message, asking that questions be emailed. He did not respond to the email questions by deadline.  
In the deposition, he claimed that Jim Snodgrass, the man who fired him, had a vendetta. Morgan claimed it was because he dated Snodgrass’ girlfriend in college.
“I can’t remember his exact statement ... but I know that he expressed frustration and resentment toward me,” Morgan said.
Morgan also said, “Jim Snodgrass held a lot of power at Exedy.”
Morgan owns a condo in the Villages of Center Farm subdivision.
According to the lawsuit, he was taking his trash out and fell from a curb. Morgan claims he fell because a street light wasn’t working. He suffered “severe and permanently disabling injuries to his left ankle,” according to the lawsuit.
“Your understanding that the Villages of Center Farm LP owned that light?” Hill asked during the deposition.
“Yes, sir,” Morgan responded. 
Morgan also blamed his firing from Exedy on the ankle injury and not the alleged sexually explicit email.
“He (Snodgrass) was looking for a reason to get rid of me because of my ankle,” Morgan said. “If I never had the ankle injury, I would have probably still had a job there, I think.”
Morgan’s lawsuit against the Villages of Center Farm is set for trial in Roane County Circuit Court next week. Snodgrass is on the witness list for the Villages of Center Farm, along with developer Matt Caldwell.
Morgan is looking to delay the trial. His attorney filed a motion for a continuance on Monday. 
“The plaintiff (Morgan) started his newly elected position on Sept. 1, 2012,” the motion said. “The plaintiff desires to not miss two days of work within his first 30 days at work.”