CARY MELTON ET AL.
CITY OF LAKELAND TENNESSEE ET AL.
Session April 9, 2019
from the Chancery Court for Shelby County No. CH-17-1772
Walter L. Evans, Chancellor
appeal involves the dismissal of a case based on mootness.
The City of Lakeland and its Industrial Development Board
passed various resolutions for the purpose of funding the
construction of a new high school. Plaintiffs-a group of
citizens of Lakeland-sued, arguing that the city lacked the
statutory authority for the financing transaction. After
Congress enacted the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the
financing transaction increased in cost, and Lakeland and the
Industrial Development Board repealed the resolutions.
Thereafter, upon Lakeland's motion to dismiss, the trial
court dismissed Plaintiffs' claims as moot. We affirm
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Chancery
Court Affirmed and Remanded
L. J. Spence, Jr. and Bryan M. Meredith, Memphis, Tennessee,
for the appellants, Cary Melton, Lillie Melton, James D.
Abbott, William T. Mallard, Brian Tipler, Deborah Tipler,
Christopher J. Smith, Melissa K. Smith, Heather Long, and
James L. Murray, Jr.
Patterson and Will Patterson, Memphis, Tennessee, for the
appellee, City of Lakeland, Tennessee.
Jeffrey C. Smith, Memphis Tennessee, for the appellee,
Industrial Development Board of the City of Lakeland,
B. Goldin, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which,
John W. McClarty, and Kenny Armstrong, JJ., joined.
B. GOLDIN, JUDGE
and Procedural History
there is no city high school in Lakeland, Tennessee, most
high school-aged children residing in the area attend the
neighboring Arlington High School. In 2014, the City of
Lakeland ("the City") notified its residents that
it intended to issue $50, 000, 000 in general obligation
bonds for the construction of a new school, grades 6-12. In
December 2014, a group of citizens requested a referendum be
placed on the ballot regarding whether or not the City should
issue the bonds for the construction of the school, and, on
April 16, 2015, the City held a special referendum. The
referendum failed when approximately 60% of the voters voted
against the issuance of the bonds.
December 5, 2017, the City's Board of Commissioners
("BOC") and its Industrial Development Board
("IDB") each held special meetings and passed
resolutions (the "December Resolutions") approving
the issuance of Series 2017 Public Improvement Bonds by the
IDB in an amount not to exceed $60, 000, 000 for the
construction of a new high school and to make improvements to
the City's middle school. A summary of the financing
transaction is as follows:
1. The School Board would transfer to the IDB certain real
property where the city middle school is located and where
the new high school would be constructed.
2. The IDB would issue the bonds, a portion of which would be
used to improve the middle school and the remainder to