The Tennessee Court of Appeals has ruled for former City Councilman Jack Benson in a lawsuit brought against him by developer Bassam Issa.
The developer, who had been seeking rezoning for an IHOP on Gunbarrel Road, alleged that he was defamed by actions of Councilman Benson. He alleged that, in two separate incidents, Councilman Benson had defamed him by accusing him of offering a bribe to influence his vote on the rezoning matter.
Councilman Benson filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that his statements were protected by the legislative privilege and the litigation privilege.
Circuit Court Judge Marie Williams granted Councilman Benson’s motion. Developer Issa appealed. The appeals court affirmed the judgment of the trial court.
Mr. Issa recently made a new try for the rezoning with a City Council minus Councilman Benson and again lost.
Click here to read the opinion.