Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Clovis v. Tennessee Human Rights Commission

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

March 21, 2017

QUINTON CLOVIS
v.
TENNESSEE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

          Session March 7, 2017

         Appeal from the Chancery Court for Davidson County No. 15-1366-1 Claudia Bonnyman, Chancellor

         This 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.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Chancery Court Affirmed

          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.

          Frank G. Clement, Jr., P.J., M.S., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Andy D. Bennett and Arnold B. Goldin, JJ., joined.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION [1]

          FRANK G. CLEMENT, JR., P.J., M.S.

         Since 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 "faggot."

         In 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.

         Mr. 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.

         Contrary 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.[2] 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").

         Throughout 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 it.[3]

         On 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 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.