Nashville Bar Owner Takes Bill Lee and John Cooper to Court Over COVID-19 Orders


Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee relied on erroneous information about COVID-19 and acted against the state and U.S. constitutions when he passed down executive orders that forced one Nashville businessman to close his bar.

This, according to the federal lawsuit that The Local Spot owner Geoffrey Reid filed this week. The lawsuit names Lee and Nashville Mayor John Cooper, among others, as defendants.

The Local Spot also offers live music.

“The Defendants’ plan of quarantining the entire population and closing all ‘non- essential’ businesses has resulted in the unprecedented and devastating deprivation of citizens’ fundamental and natural rights, including, the right to travel, the freedom of association, the freedom of religion, the right to be free from illegal seizure, property rights, economic rights and other civil liberties protected by the U.S. Constitution and Tennessee Constitution,” according to the lawsuit.

“Further, Defendants’ efforts have resulted in economic devastation to the state and county. The Governor’s office estimates that 15 percent of Tennessee workers have filed for unemployment, retail businesses have lost $870 million in net sales and Tennessee GDP has been reduced by $5 billion dollars. Plaintiffs likewise have experienced economic devastation, as has many other business owners.”

Reid did not return The Tennessee Star’s request for comment Wednesday. His attorney, Kirk Clements of Nashville, said he had no comment. No one in Lee’s office answered our request for comment.

Chris Song, spokesman for Mayor Cooper, said in an email that members of his office do not comment on pending litigation.

Reid said in his lawsuit that he was having a record year, with revenue up 56 percent over the previous year, until the government forced him to close his business in March. He also said his business does not get significant revenue from pick up or delivery.

“Upon being able to apply for a loan through the federal Paycheck Protection Program, Reid did so, but the funds were depleted before he could be approved. Reid was approved during the second round of funding of the Paycheck Protection Program, but, to date, he has not received such funds,” according to the lawsuit.

“As a direct result of being closed by the Defendants’ Orders, Reid has incurred significant monetary losses which exceed $200,000. Reid opened his establishment under severe restrictions on May 11, 2020 pursuant to Metro’s orders. If Reid is not allowed to fully open The Local as a live music venue and bar/restaurant in the near future, it is highly probable that Reid will have to close The Local permanently.”

Read the suit:

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Bill Lee” by Bill Lee.Photo “John Cooper” by John Cooper.








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7 Thoughts to “Nashville Bar Owner Takes Bill Lee and John Cooper to Court Over COVID-19 Orders”

  1. julie

    For accuracy the venue is called The Local. not the Local Spot.

  2. Cannoneer2

    I suppose the next step is to whine for immunity from being sued when one or more bar patrons get sick, right?

    1. David S. Blackwell RN, BSN

      No. Keep your hand swashed and party. Have you ever heard of a business getting sued for cold and flu season?

    2. JB Taylor

      No, they came into the establishment of their own free will and accepted any risks. Sick of never ending frivolous law suits.

  3. Julie

    I hoped there would be more lawsuits. You can’t get the media to talk about how the information and models we were provided were so wrong and hold anyone accountable for it. We still get to enjoy the daily or almost daily briefings that tell us to social distance and to review examples of what happened in small towns in Georgia to justify their continued lockdown. COVID is here to stay, we will all get infected at some point but can no longer lock down our communities and economies.

  4. David S. Blackwell RN, BSN

    Thank God. It is about time. Both are complete morons. I will not vote for Bill Lee again, nor do business with his company again. Cold and flu season will never be the same again. Fascinatingly how Al Gore’s computer models got it wrong as well. Land of the free? Home of the brave? My ass. Wash your hand and get back to work! Maybe the politicians could provide us with public showers and wash basins? The Romans gave us this concept. Use it. Morons. Are we to govern for now on based on computer models and emergency declarations? Total BS.

  5. rick

    I feel Cooper has been deceptive in not allowing Nashville to open . Testing for the virus can provide very misleading numbers. Something is not right or the opening would be progressing quicker. Cooper is one of many that got Nashville in the financial mess we are in and he is not to be trusted. There will be more lawsuits.