Recently Decided Cases – Civil

Elijah “LIJ” Shaw, et al. v. Metropolitan Nashville Government of Nashville and Davidson County (Challenge of Metropolitan Code Provision Concerning Home-Based Businesses)

Style: Elijah “LIJ” Shaw, et al. v. Metropolitan Nashville Government of Nashville and Davidson County

TSC Docket Number: M2019-01926-SC-R11-CV

Date of TSC Opinion:  August 18, 2022

Opinion of the TSC:   click here

TSC Summary of the Opinion:

This appeal addresses mootness when a law challenged in the trial court is altered or amended after the trial court issued its final judgment and while the appeal is pending.  The plaintiff homeowners operated businesses out of their homes.  They filed a lawsuit against the defendant municipality challenging an ordinance that prohibited them from having clients visit their home-based businesses.  The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant municipality, and the homeowners appealed.  While the appeal was pending, the municipality repealed the ordinance that was the subject of the complaint and enacted a new ordinance that allowed limited client visits to home-based businesses.  The Court of Appeals held that the repeal of the original ordinance rendered the homeowners’ case moot, and the homeowners were granted permission to appeal to this Court.  While the appeal to this Court was pending, the ordinance was amended again. On appeal, based on the current record, we cannot determine whether the homeowners suffer ongoing harm from the new ordinance, how the change will affect their claims, and whether they retain some residual claim under the new ordinance.  Consequently, we vacate the judgments of the lower courts and remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings in which the parties may amend their pleadings to address any claims the homeowners may assert under the new ordinance.

Link to Court of Appeals Opinion: click here

Summary by the Court of Appeals:

Two homeowners filed suit against a metropolitan government challenging a metropolitan code provision that prevented them from serving customers at their home-based businesses. The trial court granted summary judgment to the metropolitan government. After the homeowners filed this appeal, the metropolitan council repealed the challenged code provision and enacted a new provision allowing certain home-based businesses to serve up to six clients a day. We have determined that, in light of the metropolitan government’s enactment of the new ordinance, this appeal is moot

Permission to Appeal Granted: July 12, 2021

Appellants’ Briefs Filed: September 10, 2021

Appellees’ Briefs Filed: November 9, 2021

Appellants’ Reply Brief Filed:  December 3, 2021

Appellees’ Reply Brief Filed:  None

Amicus Briefs Permitted:  None

Oral Argument Date: January 26, 2022

Link to Oral Argument Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BH8IAnMYnAo

 

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