Other States Likely Monitoring Lawsuit Against Tennessee’s New ‘Online Auctioneer’ Law, Expert Says


Legislators in other states likely want to duplicate a new Tennessee law that’s currently under a temporary restraining order, per a U.S. federal judge, said someone involved in the legal proceedings.

As The Tennessee Star reported this week, U.S. District Court Judge Eli Richardson of the Middle District of Tennessee issued the temporary restraining order. The order prevents state officials from enforcing a law that forces online auctioneers to get a state license.

The temporary restraining order expires July 11 at noon. An injunction hearing on the matter is scheduled for July 10 at 9 a.m.

Legislators in other states, including Louisiana, Mississippi, and Kentucky, will no doubt monitor the case, Will McLemore, one of the plaintiffs in the case, told The Tennessee Star this week.

McLemore said he runs an online auction company out of Nashville.

“Tennessee is looked to as a bellwether state for auction regulation. It has always been one of the most heavily regulated states for auctioneering,” McLemore said.

“I do know there are a lot of other states who have watched this bill passed into law and are looking to it as a model or a possible model for the way they might proceed.”

McLemore told The Star that Texas also regulated online auctioneers for a time before they discontinued the practice.

No one at auctioneer’s commissions or licensing boards in Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, or Texas returned The Star’s repeated requests for comment Tuesday.

McLemore said people in the auctioneering industry look to Tennessee to gauge what patterns and trends are forthcoming.

“Tennessee auctioneers have always been successful and have been deeply involved in our national trade association. I served on the board of directors of the National Auctioneers Association along with others,” McLemore said.

“We have had two recent presidents of the National Auctioneers Association from Tennessee. Tennesseans have taken leadership in the auction industry as a whole. For that reason, folks look to us on how to regulate the business.”

As reported, McLemore said the new law would have caused him to have to alter his business model and would have regulated people who conduct online auctions that use extended time bidding.

As The Star reported last week, the Nashville-based Beacon Center of Tennessee – a free-market think tank – has filed suit against the law. Beacon officials said the state exempts big online auction sites, including Ebay.

Beacon Vice President of Legal Affairs Braden Boucek said the clear majority of complaints about online auctioneering came from business competitors who don’t like having to compete with a new business model.

This, Boucek went on to say, artificially inflates prices of goods, all of which are passed on to the consumer.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]







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  1. […] as The Star reported, legislators in other states, including Louisiana, Mississippi, and Kentucky were likely monitoring […]