Nashville Court Dismisses Home-Based Business Lawsuit


Nashville’s Chancery Court of Davidson County this week dismissed a lawsuit that a Grammy-winning producer and a hairstylist filed against the city’s regulations restricting home-based businesses.

The Nashville-based free market think tank the Beacon Center of Tennessee assisted these two individuals, Lij Shaw and Pat Raynor.

Beacon Vice President of Legal Affairs Vice President Braden Boucek discussed the matter with The Tennessee Star Thursday.

“The court granted summary judgment to the city of Nashville, saying it is rational to keep a little old lady from cutting hair in her garage and threatened to seize the property of a home studio in Nashville,” Boucek said.

“The clients are disappointed, but we build these things to be won at the appellate court level from the ground up. The judge is a good judge. We like her, but she felt bound by her analysis to rule based on metro imagining what would happen if these people were allowed to have home businesses and she felt obligated to disregard the actual facts, which showed that they would have zero impact on the neighborhood in any way. It was a deeper Constitutional question about whether the facts matter when it comes to someone’s ability to have an honest living.”

As reported, the lawsuit was filed nearly two years ago.

“Since 1998, Nashville metro code has prohibited home businesses from serving clients on a residential property, while allowing exemptions for daycares and short-term rentals such as Airbnb to operate in residential dwellings,” reported.

“Shaw, who has lived in Nashville since 1991, built his backyard studio after his daughter was born in 2005 so that he could work more closely to his family. When he and his wife separated in 2009 and he became his daughter’s sole caretaker, the studio allowed him to continue working a full-time job.”

As The Tennessee Watchdog reported in 2011, Raynor is a widow who wants to run a hair salon out of her home.

But Boucek said this is not the end.

“We will definitely appeal it,” Boucek said. “We are excited about the possibility and remain enthusiastic that they will ultimately prevail because the courts are going to conduct a meaningful analysis and see there is no legitimate or rational reason to keep these people from conducting quiet and low-impact businesses out of their home.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Home-Based Studio” by BeatBoss Tims. CC BY-SA 4.0.




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