Chancery Court Judge Ellen Lyle agreed with the City of Nashville’s Motion to dismiss a lawsuit over the city’s plans for a Major League Soccer stadium at The Fairgrounds Nashville.
The decision cleared the way for the professional soccer league to decide if, indeed, Nashville is to be included in its planned two-team expansion.
The ruling comes as Save Our Fairground – represented by local attorney James Roberts – filed a lawsuit in late November arguing Metro Nashville’s plans to develop a professional soccer stadium and surrounding amenities would put in jeopardy the land’s original use, as defined in the city charter as modified by referendum in 2011.
Metro Nashville lawyers answered with a motion to dismiss, saying the claims made by Roberts were either premature or did not have standing because even if the claims were true, they did not meet the standards requiring legal review.
In a 10-page decision (see below), Judge Lyle agreed with the city, writing:
After studying Tennessee law and the Amended Complaint of the Plaintiffs, and considering oral argument of the attorneys for each side, the court concludes Metro is correct. This lawsuit must be dismissed.
“This decision affirms what we’ve known all along: Building a soccer-specific stadium at the Fairgrounds Nashville, while maintaining other existing uses, is in accordance with the Metro charter,” Metro spokesman Sean Braisted said in a statement to the Nashville Business Journal. “We believe that bringing MLS to the Fairgrounds would result in improvements to the property and the area that would benefit everyone and last for generations to come. We hope to hear from MLS this week about whether Nashville will be one of their expansion cities.”
But ‘Save Our Fairgrounds’ activists are not giving up. James Roberts told The Tennessean his client plans to re-file its lawsuit against Metro again after binding steps are taken for the stadium:
Metro has only announced its intention to violate the Metro charter and hasn’t actually done anything substantial yet to violate the law.
We’re going to just wait for Metro to cross the line and we’re going to sue them again.