Nashville SC

Demolition begins at The Fairgrounds Nashville

Yet another major milestone passed Friday in Nashville SC’s seemingly interminable march toward getting its Major League Soccer stadium built. It was a foregone conclusion that Save Our Fairgrounds’s lawsuit would see its motion for injunctive relief* denied, but it became official Friday afternoon.

With that, demolition has begun at The Fairgrounds (header photo by District 17 Councilmember Colby Sledge). As you’ll see, it doesn’t seem likely there will be any halt to said demolition.

The tone of Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle’s motion denying the injunction, uh, seems to indicate that SOF’s case – which is scheduled for a bench trial June 4 – has pretty close to zero chance of being found in the plaintiffs’ favor.

The Plaintiffs’ argument rests upon the word “or,” in Section 11.602(d) of the Metro Charter, not being accorded its ordinary meaning of alternatives. The Plaintiffs’ argument is that the Court should give the word “or” in Section 11.602(d) the special meaning in this case of “and,” to mean not an alternative but “both.”

The newly asserted claim of the Plaintiffs is that “or,” bolded above in the quotation of Section 11.602(d), actually means “and” so that both a 27-vote of the Council and a referendum are required before demolition and construction can proceed. This interpretation the Court is unable to adopt. In the words of the case law above, the Plaintiffs’ construction of “or” constitutes an addition to the statute or rewrite “to conform to an assumed intent that is not apparent in its language.” As cited, that is not permitted under Tennessee law.

To unpack some of that, the argument is dismissed out-of-hand, and she notes that it’s a newly-advanced argument anyway (with the implication that she sees the plaintiffs grasping at straws and coming up with new and increasingly-ridiculous attempts to prolong what is prime facie a frivolous legal battle). Injunctive relief is denied on basically all possible grounds, not least of which is because she doesn’t see particularly likelihood that Metro will lose at trial. Here’s a heading of one of her sections:

The Plaintiffs Have Not Demonstrated Likelihood Of Success On The Merits Textual Construction of the Charter

“Have not demonstrated likelihood of success” is foreboding for Save Our Fairgrounds! It likely indicates that this thing will be over very shortly after 9:00 a.m. the first Thursday in June.

* For the layperson: injunctive relief is essentially a court order mandating that one party must take – or not take – action before a final judgment in a legal battle. SOF had asked that construction be halted via injunction while the court case plays out.

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