ANTHONY D. HERRON, JR.,
TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, DIVISION OF REHABILITATION SERVICES
Assigned on Briefs July 3, 2017
from the Chancery Court for Shelby County No. CH-16-1211 Jim
Kyle, Chancellor No. W2017-00067-COA-R3-CV
D. Herron, Jr., a disabled army veteran, applied and was
approved for vocational rehabilitation services through the
Tennessee Department of Human Services, Division of
Rehabilitation Services. During the course of developing a
self-employment plan, the Division of Rehabilitation Services
determined it had received insufficient information from Mr.
Herron to merit further consideration of his self-employment
plan. Mr. Herron administratively appealed, but after a
hearing, the Department affirmed the decision of the Division
of Rehabilitation Services. Mr. Herron then petitioned for
judicial review in chancery court, which also affirmed the
decision of the Division of Rehabilitation Services. Mr.
Herron appeals. Upon review of the record, we affirm the
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Chancery
Anthony Herron, Jr., Memphis, Tennessee, Pro Se.
Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Ellison M. Berryhill, Assistant Attorney General, for the
appellee, Tennessee Department of Human Services.
Richard H. Dinkins, J., delivered the opinion of the court,
in which D. Michael Swiney, C.J., and J. Steven Stafford,
P.J., W.S., joined.
RICHARD H. DINKINS, JUDGE
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
D. Herron, Jr., a disabled army veteran, was determined by
the Division of Rehabilitation Services ("the
Division" or "DRS") of the Tennessee
Department of Human Services ("the Department") to
be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services in
September 2014; after the determination, Mr. Herron was
required to develop, with the assistance of a counselor, an
individualized plan for employment ("IPE"). His
initial IPE anticipated that he would obtain employment as a
flight instructor, and the Department agreed, inter
alia, to provide tuition for flight training. Herron
v. Tennessee Department of Human Services, No.
W2016-01416-COA-R3-CV, 2017 WL 438626, at *2 (Tenn. Ct. App.
Feb. 1, 2017). The flight school ceased operations while
he was enrolled, and Mr. Herron was unable to continue his
training. Id. at *1.
Herron continued to pursue vocational rehabilitation services
with the Department, and on December 7, 2015, with the
assistance of his counselor Edgar Chism, Mr. Herron completed
an Employment Needs Assessment ("ENA"). In the
assessment, Mr. Chism stated that Mr. Herron was suited for
self-employment and that financial barriers were the sole
obstacles to his self-employment. Mr. Herron and Mr. Chism
signed a Business Exploration Agreement ("BEA"),
which outlined their respective responsibilities while
exploring Mr. Herron's suitability for self-employment.
The BEA stated that a business plan "must be approved in
accordance with DRS requirements prior to the development of
[an] Individualized Plan for Employment."
Herron established as an objective that he would open a
business selling high-quality hair extensions. Mr. Chism put
him in contact with the Service Core of Retired Executives,
the Tennessee Business Enterprise Resource Office, the
University of Memphis' Center for Entrepreneurship and
Innovation, and the Small Business Association; Mr. Herron
used these resources to create his feasibility/market
analysis, business plan, and cash flow projection. Mr. Chism
approved of Mr. Herron's analysis and plan, and concluded
that self-employment was the "best employment
objective" for Mr. Herron. Mr. Chism then submitted the
documents to George Wright, the Region 9 Supervisor of the
Vocational Rehabilitation program, for review in accordance
with the last step of the self-employment
January 14, 2016, Mr. Wright sent Mr. Herron an email,
acknowledging receipt of the feasibility study and market
analysis and stating the following, in pertinent part:
I know that you plan a niche business with no competitors
offering an identical service/product. But you have provided
an extensive list of beauty shops, salons, and dealers in the
proposed area that you will operate. Your market analysis
needs to include those businesses that will directly compete
with you by offering your potential customers similar
products or services that would result in customer receiving
an extension/weave. Who are the nearest competitors within a
15-20 mile radius (30-40 minute drive) that would be
considered major competitors?
Regarding #3 under Feasibility/Market Analysis "required
income, " we need to have information about anticipated
1st year wages/earnings for similar business
start-ups in the SW Tennessee area as this information is
critical to further consideration. The area chamber of
commerce or your ...