Former city employee wins $2 million suit

Aug. 16, 2009 at 6:11 PM
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FRANKLIN, Tenn., Aug. 16 (UPI) -- The city of Franklin, Tenn., must pay $2 million to a former employee after firing him for having pornography on a city computer, his attorney said.

Joe Williams, 46, was fired in January 2008, but was able to prove through computer experts the pornography found on a city-owned laptop he used was not downloaded deliberately. One of the experts testified in his lawsuit against the city the pornography was the result of an "HTML redirect" which imprinted the offensive material on the hard drive, Williams' attorney, Steve Anderson, told The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville.

"When it first started, all it would have taken was 'Oops, hey, we're wrong. Let's tell everybody we're wrong, and let's go back to work,' " said Williams.

But it took him filing a lawsuit to get the city aldermen to admit they were wrong.

An attorney and Tennessee State University professor said it may be the largest settlement paid by an employer. Lewis Laska said some private settlements are sealed but those paid by public entities are public record and this is the biggest of those.

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