Sunday, October 2, 2022

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Judge grants motion to move city mgr.’s lawsuit against Rural Hall councilwoman to Forsyth County

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An Alamance County superior court judge has agreed to move a lawsuit filed by Graham city manager Megan Garner to Forsyth County.

According to the order entered Thursday by Alamance County superior court judge Andrew

Alamance County superior court judge Andrew “Andy” Hanford

“Andy” Hanford, Garner’s attorneys had consented to the change which had been requested by legal counsel for the Town of Rural Hall.


See a copy of the judge’s brief, one-page order HERE


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Garner had originally filed suit on June 10 here suing a town councilwoman there, where Garner previously worked as town manager,  alleging that the councilwoman, Susan Gordon, engaged in libel and slander against Garner.

Rural Hall councilwoman Susan Gordon.
Graham city manager Megan Garner during Graham city council meeting earlier this year.

Gordon had asked earlier this month for the lawsuit to be transferred to Forsyth County superior court because, under state law, “an action against a public officer for an action done by virtue of her office” must be tried in the jurisdiction in which the defendant holds public office, according to her motion for a venue change.  Gordon also argued that it would be improper to use taxpayer funds to pay the expenses for any government officials to travel to Alamance County to testify in the case.

In her suit, Garner claims that Gordon made numerous “false and malicious statements” about her. Garner is seeking more than $25,000 in damages against Gordon under multiple alleged claims, including slander.

Garner alleges that Gordon slandered her by making false and malicious statements about her at the Rural Hall Historical Society meeting on June 13, 2021.  Garner also contends that she had to defend herself against these allegations when contacted by “local news media about a ‘missing'” $1.5 million; and “the news media published articles regarding the alleged missing money which was also embarrassing and humiliating,” her complaint alleges.  Garner contends that because Gordon’s statements about Garner “were slanderous per se, malice and damages are presumed and [Garner] need not prove injury.”

Meanwhile, Rural Hall attorney Randy James, has also filed a motion for summary judgment in Forsyth County Superior Court asking that in a separate case filed last November – in yet another dimension of the town’s ongoing dispute with Garner – asking that the judge grant the municipality’s lawsuit to render as void the payment of a “six-figure settlement agreement” that three then-town councilmen approved October 21, 2021, the same day that Garner resigned as town manager and the three councilmen resigned their seats.

Graham’s city council voted unanimously the next day, October 22, to hire Garner as the new city manager.  She succeeded former city manager Frankie Maness, who resigned earlier in 2021 to become the county manager in his native Montgomery County.

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