Judge dismisses former Ford official's defamation lawsuit agains - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Judge dismisses former Ford official's defamation lawsuit against Mayor Greg Fischer

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LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) -- A defamation lawsuit filed by a former high-ranking Ford official against Mayor Greg Fischer has been dismissed for a lack of evidence.

Jay Morgan claimed he was fired in 2013 as regional director of corporate and government affairs for Ford Motor co., after Fischer made false statements to the company in order to remove Morgan from a project that proposed building a Ford worker training facility in Louisville.

The suit also claimed Fischer threatened Morgan and his family's employment in Louisville.

But in a Sept. 17 ruling, Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Mitch Perry found that Morgan could not prove “exactly what was said by Fischer to Ford officials that allegedly led to his termination. Even if he could establish what Fischer said, there is no evidence, other than conjecture, which shows that the statement was malicious.”

The suit accused Fischer of contacting Ford and telling officials Morgan was promising that "Ford would fund a Ford worker training facility in Louisville." Morgan, who denied making such a promise, claimed the mayor made the false statement to remove him from the project and put a halt to a proposed Ford training facility in Louisville's West End.

Judge Perry ruled that even if Fischer had said that to Ford, and the information had been false, it doesn't prove "they were malicious utterances as opposed to mistaken observations."

The lawsuit also stated that Fischer expressed anger about Morgan working with Metro councilman David James – and made statements about the employment of Morgan's wife and daughter, which Morgan felt were threatening.

Morgan claimed Fischer said of James, "You cannot trust him and should not be working with him." After a Dec. 2012 meeting, Morgan said his supervisor at Ford told him Fischer had made "very serious" derogatory accusations about Morgan's work and conduct in Louisville as the Ford representative.

The city argued in court records that any statements Fischer made to Ford were not defamatory and were done in his role as mayor.

Shane Sidebottom, Morgan's attorney, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

Chris Poynter, a spokesman for the mayor, said they would let the judge's ruling "speak for itself."

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