Supreme Court Rules That Nuisance Suit Against Farm That Hosts Music Concerts May Proceed

Monday, August 19, 2013

In a unanimous opinion, the Tennessee Supreme Court held that the Right to Farm Act does not bar a homeowner’s nuisance lawsuit against a farm that hosted amplified music concerts. 

Velda Shore retired to a subdivision in rural Blount County in 2003.

The subdivision was adjacent to Maple Lane Farms, which was owned and operated by Robert Schmidt. In addition to raising crops and livestock, Mr. Schmidt hosted spring and fall festivals that included a variety of public attractions, including music concerts. 

Ms. Shore complained to county officials about the noise and traffic caused by the concerts. In 2008, the Blount County Board of Zoning Appeals decided that Mr. Schmidt could hold only one concert per year at Maple Lane Farms. After Mr. Schmidt ignored the board’s decision, Ms. Shore filed suit alleging that the concerts were a nuisance and violated local zoning regulations. 

The Chancery Court for Blount County dismissed Ms. Shore’s suit based on its conclusions that the Tennessee Right to Farm Act shielded Mr. Schmidt from nuisance liability and that all the activities at Maple Lane Farms were exempted from local zoning regulations. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court, concluding that the activities on the farm met the state’s legal definition of agritourism and were permitted. 

The Supreme Court granted Ms. Shore’s appeal and reversed the dismissal of her case. The Court decided that the Right to Farm Act did not apply to the music concerts at Maple Lane Farms because they were not connected to the production of crops and livestock. The Court also decided that Ms. Shore had presented enough evidence to permit her nuisance claim to proceed. Finally, the Court determined that the concerts were not exempted from the local zoning regulations.


Tennessee Seeing Spike In Workplace Fatalities

The Administrator of the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Steve Hawkins, urges employers and workers pay special attention to workplace safety and health after 22 Tennessee workers suffered fatal job-related injuries since January.  "In the month of July alone, 10 Tennessee workers lost their lives in workplace accidents, devastating families, friends, ... (click for more)

FASTSIGNS of Chattanooga Employees Receive National Recognition

Three sales employees from FASTSIGNS of Chattanooga received national recognition at the 2016 FASTSIGNS Outside Sales Summit, held in Arlington, Tx.  David Murphy received the Platinum Sales Award, which recognizes outside sales professionals who achieved sales exceeding $1 million from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. With more than 615 independently owned and operated ... (click for more)

Pinkston Says Offer Was Made To Dismiss Lawsuit Against Him If Prosecution Of Detective Burns Was Dropped; Judge Greenholtz "Greatly Bothered" By Any Such Offer

District Attorney Neal Pinkston said at a hearing Tuesday that an offer was made to drop a lawsuit filed against him by Gatlinburg detective Rodney Burns if he would dismiss two perjury counts against Burns. The district attorney said he should not be disqualified from continuing to prosecute the case or else attorneys would begin suing him or the judge to get a new DA or trial ... (click for more)

2 People In Critical Condition After 3-Vehicle Crash On Highway 58

Two people are in critical condition after a three-vehicle crash on Highway 58 on Monday night. At approximately 8:13 p.m. , officers with the Chattanooga Police Department responded to a motor vehicle crash with injuries in the 5400 block of Highway 58.  One of the involved vehicles flipped on its top causing the occupants to be trapped inside the vehicle. The ... (click for more)

Say No To Armed Police Volunteers - And Response (5)

The last thing the Chattanooga Police Department needs is a cadre of “armed” volunteers placed in the community as reserve officers. How will this plan address the problem between the department and the communities in which there is lack of trust? If these volunteers are strategically added to strengthen the “police state” in certain neighborhoods, that plan will widen the gap between ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Already, 248 Mass Shootings

There is not a word – not one – that I can use to respond to Dr. Loretta P. Prater, whose letter in Chattanoogan.com just condemned the idea that proposed volunteers in the Chattanooga Police Department be armed. Dr. Pater signed her letter, “Mother of Homicide Victim Leslie Vaughn Prater” and I’ve no doubt there is nothing in this world that will assuage the lifelong horror she ... (click for more)