Former Board of Health member files lawsuit against county and supervisor

Johnson claims he was libeled and slandered

A former Chickasaw County Board of Health member has filed a lawsuit against Chickasaw County and one of its supervisors claiming that he was libeled and slandered during the county’s attempt to remove him from the board.

In a lawsuit filed last month by Osage attorney Aaron Murphy, Terry Johnson alleges that comments made by Supervisor Jacob Hackman, who was the chairman of the Board of Supervisors at the time, were “false and defamatory statements that were publicized and publicly disseminated which statements have denied Terry Johnson the benefits of public and personal confidence and social dealing and have injured in the pursuit of his life and/or occupation.”

The lawsuit is seeking “compensatory damages, actual damages, general damages and special damages as well as an award of punitive damages and exemplary damages” from the county and Hackman.

Johnson was appointed to the Board of Health in 2019, and his tenure on the board was oftentimes controversial. He said during a number of Board of Health meetings that he was asking questions because he was looking out for county taxpayers.

His fellow Board of Health members voted in July 2020 to ask the Board of Supervisors to remove him from his position.

During an Aug. 17, 2020, Board of Supervisors meetings court documents say that Hackman was referring to Johnson when he said “sexual harassment comments, sexual harassment issues, and I believe that Ann has been aware of at least three or four out in public of harassment gestures.”

     --More on the story may be found in the May 4 Tribune.

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