CITY OF LEBANON EX REL. PHILIP CRAIGHEAD
DEREK M. DODSON
13, 2017 Session
from the Chancery Court for Wilson County No. 2016-CV-74 C.
K. Smith, Chancellor
appeal concerns the Tennessee Violence in the Workplace Act.
After a citizen was disruptive at several city council
meetings, the city filed a petition under the Act, seeking to
enjoin the citizen from attending city council meetings and
from contacting city officials. The trial court granted an ex
parte temporary restraining order and, following an
evidentiary hearing, granted an injunction for three years.
On its own motion, the court also issued a three-year
injunction "separate and apart" from the Act.
Because the city failed to meet its burden of proof under the
Act and there was no other basis on which to grant injunctive
relief, we reverse.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Chancery
Court Reversed and Case Remanded
A. Evans and Mary R. Hutto, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the
appellant, Derek M. Dodson.
Wright, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellee, City of
Neal McBrayer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Frank G. Clement Jr., P.J., M.S., and Richard H.
Dinkins, J., joined.
NEAL MCBRAYER, JUDGE.
the City of Lebanon's charter, the mayor presides over
all meetings of the city council. 1929 Tenn. Priv. Acts 2007,
2027. The meetings of the council, which are required to
occur at least once each month, follow an agenda.
Id. at 2026. The agendas, except when the council is
meeting in special session, include an item called
"Communication from Citizens." During this period,
citizens may address the council and make comments.
such citizen, Derek Dodson, regularly attended the council
meetings. And he frequently availed himself of the
opportunity to make comments. For the most part, Mr. Dodson
would address the council and sit down. But in more recent
years, Mr. Dodson began accusing individuals of corruption
and dishonesty. At the March 3, 2015 city council meeting,
after he was allowed to speak for a while, the then mayor,
Philip Craighead, requested that Mr. Dodson conclude his
comments and sit down. Still Mr. Dodson persisted.
captured by the minutes of the meeting, Mayor Craighead and
Mr. Dodson engaged in the following colloquy:
Mayor: I am sorry, but you are kind of like a broken record
from the week before. So, please make your comments and then
Mr. Dodson: Oh, I'm not a broken record. I've got a
lot of interesting information here, that you don't want
exposed and it's about to get exposed right now. So, when
the Bible Park arrived in town, it arrived in September of
2008 and it was here until March of 2009. You became Mayor in
December of 2008. The Bible Park came into town in September
as Hard Rock Park was going bankrupt. You supported that.
They came into town with an economic impact study, not a
feasibility study, but a sales pitch economic impact study
which they provide the critical numbers for -
Mayor: Your three minutes are up.
Mr. Dodson: They committed the same fraud at the Hard Rock
Mayor: Your three minutes are up.
Mr. Dodson: Let me explain a concept for you Mayor Craighead
Mayor: I'm sorry but your three minutes are up. Your
three minutes are up, sir.
Mr. Dodson: Let me explain a concept for you. If you and I
are in a bank, and it's getting robbed, and you are
robbing a bank, all rules are off. I'm exposing your
corruption, and the best you can do is have the police come
and try to defend you from ...