Fighting city hall


September 28, 2018 11:50AM

The city of Nashville was trying to demand a family destroy an existing sidewalk and build a new one before it would issue a permit to build a screened in deck. The city had no authority to make this demand. When pressed, Nashville couldn’t say where it had this authority, and it ultimately backed down. But in the interim, the family took to Facebook to rightfully plea for help. When someone suggested they hire a lawyer (Tom White & Co. are excellent lawyers), they were told by a councilmember that hiring an attorney would cost more than just buckling under Nashville’s demands.

The aforementioned Facebook exchange, shown here,  is everything that’s wrong with Metro governance.

If the city is doing something it shouldn’t, then it should stop. How much it would cost someone to make them stop should not enter the equation. City officials should govern themselves, not count on accountability costing too much.

As someone who has sued Nashville a time or two, I can say that I frequently hear people express the attitude that they have no choice but to comply with this demand or that, just because it would cost too much to bring a legal action. And an alarming number of those people think that Nashville knows it and makes decisions that way. We’ve all heard that you “can’t fight city hall.” When that’s city policy, it is irresponsible.

That’s the reason why a pro bono litigation shop like ours is so necessary. We are here to stand up for regular Tennesseans when they can’t afford to do so on their own. It levels the playing field when it “would almost certainly [not] cost more” to stand up to local governments rather than submitting to whatever.

You can fight city hall. Join our property rights coalition here.