Session March 7, 2017
from the Chancery Court for Davidson County No. 15-1366-1
Claudia Bonnyman, Chancellor
appeal arises from a complaint filed with the Tennessee Human
Rights Commission in which Plaintiff alleged he was denied
public accommodation at the Metropolitan Public Library in
violation of the Tennessee Human Rights Act. Tenn. Code Ann.
§§ 4-21-301 and -501. More specifically, Plaintiff
contended that the Library discriminated against him based on
his Christian beliefs and in retaliation for filing a
previous religious discrimination complaint against the
Library. After conducting an investigation, the Commission
found no reasonable basis for Plaintiff's claim.
Plaintiff appealed the Commission's decision to the
Davidson County Chancery Court. Following a hearing, the
chancery court upheld the decision of the Commission. This
appeal followed. We affirm.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Chancery
Quinton Clovis, Nashville, Tennessee, pro se.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Andrée S. Blumstein, Solicitor General; and Eugenie B.
Whitesell, No. 15911, Senior Counsel, Nashville, Tennessee,
for the appellee, The Tennessee Human Rights Commission.
G. Clement, Jr., P.J., M.S., delivered the opinion of the
Court, in which Andy D. Bennett and Arnold B. Goldin, JJ.,
MEMORANDUM OPINION 
G. CLEMENT, JR., P.J., M.S.
March 2013, Quinton Clovis ("Plaintiff") frequented
the main downtown branch of the Metropolitan Public Library
("the Library") to use the computers. Library
security guard, Richard Freudenthal, encountered Plaintiff
for the first time on November 12, 2014, in response to a
patron's complaint that Plaintiff was causing a
disruption in the computer lab by loudly detailing his sexual
exploits. Mr. Freudenthal approached Plaintiff and requested
that he lower his voice and stop talking about his sex life.
Plaintiff became agitated and began using foul language,
which included calling one of the patrons a
response to Plaintiff's repeated disruptions, Mr.
Freudenthal escorted Plaintiff out of the computer lab and to
the Library desk where he issued Plaintiff a 30-day
suspension for violating one of the Library's rules of
conduct-engaging in harassing or threatening behavior or
using abusive language. Mr. Freudenthal requested that
Plaintiff sign the "Conduct Offense Notification"
form and tried to explain the appeal process to him. However,
Plaintiff refused to sign the form, and he refused to listen
to Mr. Freudenthal's explanation. Instead, Plaintiff
continued to use abusive language and would not leave the
Library, violating yet another code of conduct-refusing to
leave the Library premises upon suspension.
Freudenthal radioed three other guards (including security
officer, Charles Farm) and building maintenance supervisor,
Buddy Pruitt, for assistance. Plaintiff still refused to
leave and directed a string of obscenities at the security
guards as they arrived on the scene. As a result, the
security guards called the Metropolitan Nashville Police
Department for assistance. Plaintiff asked the security
officers to permit him to use the restroom, and the officers
allowed him to do so. As Plaintiff came out of the restroom,
he continued with the abusive and threatening language.
Consequently, Mr. Freudenthal issued a one-year suspension
accompanied by an additional "Conduct Offense
Notification." The police arrived on the scene shortly
thereafter and escorted Plaintiff off the premises.
to Mr. Freudenthal's explanation of events, Plaintiff
contends that Library officials targeted him because he
possessed a flash drive that contained documents pertaining
to an investigation he was conducting on local hate crimes
along with important religious materials. Plaintiff alleges
Library staff and officials attempted to confiscate and
destroy this flash drive, but that he stopped them by
concealing it in his underwear. Though Plaintiff admits that he
never discussed his Christian beliefs with Library staff, he
claims they knew of his affiliation because he openly read
his Bible and listened to gospel music in the computer lab.
The security officers and the building maintenance
supervisors claimed they had never met Plaintiff prior to
that incident and did not know anything about Plaintiff's
religious affiliation. Plaintiff further alleges that Library
staff suspended him in retaliation for a previous complaint
he filed against the Library with the Tennessee Human Rights
Commission ("the Commission").
the Library and online, the Library posts its rules of
conduct along with the consequences for violating those rules
and the appeal process. Any individual may appeal his or her
suspension for violating the rules of conduct by filing a
Request for Suspension Reconsideration within seven days from
the date the individual receives notice of the suspension.
Plaintiff delivered his appeal to the Library on November 24,
2014; however, because he delivered it outside of the
seven-day window, the Library did not consider
December 18, 2014, Plaintiff filed a complaint with the
Commission alleging that Library officials denied him public
accommodation in violation of the Tennessee Human Rights Act.
Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 4-21-301 and -501. More
specifically, Plaintiff contended that the Library
discriminated against him based on his Christian beliefs and
in retaliation for filing a previous religious discrimination
complaint against the Library; however, he presented no
evidence of such a complaint and the Commission could find
none. After conducting an investigation, the ...