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by David Tulis, NoogaRadio 92.7 FM

Staffers of a supplier give away breakfast sausages and show samples at a display table at Ed’s Supply, a prosperous Chattanooga-based air conditioner parts distributorship with branches in several cities. (Photo Ed’s Supply on FB)

(Sep. 2, 2020) — Hamilton County is suing a local company for its refusal to obey a county “directive’ ordering people in public to wear muzzles on their chins.

The suit with health department plaintiffs Dr. Paul Hendricks and Becky Barnes targets Ernie Sanders in Ed’s Supply Co. on the presumed grounds that there is a lawfully declared epidemic and on the presumed grounds that the company falls under the department’s properly evoked police powers.

The filing demands the business be closed if its owners don’t enforce the chin diaper mandate of July 10.

The authority for the lawsuit is presumed, but not actual, and it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Neither state government nor the department have obeyed state law with legal groundwork for claims such as these made Tuesday in Hamilton County chancery court. No power exists in the health law for Dr. Hendricks to issue directives.

The lawsuit comes in violation of the bedrock clean hands doctrine that forbids a malefactor from claiming protection and justice from a court.

Suit sees ‘dreaded’ disease 

The six-page petition recounts the story of CV-19 much as the press has done, focusing on effects of the virus, not its origins and cause.

Since January, 2020, these United States of America have experienced the introduction and spread of COVID- 19, which is a highly -contagious and deadly pandemic that has claimed the lives of in excess of one hundred eighty thousand ( 180,000) individuals, to date, and in excess of one thousand six hundred and nine ( 1, 609) lives within the State of Tennessee. The presence of said dreaded virus has caused the President of these United States, the governors of every state herein, including the Governor of the State of Tennessee, to issue states of emergency, declarations, and orders that have altered the way of life for their respective citizens in conducting of what was thought of as “normal” personal, family, and business affairs, including requiring and/or recommending social -distancing ( for individuals to maintain a distance of no less than six (6) feet from other individuals), the frequent washing of hands, and the wearing of facial coverings ( masks) to prevent the transmittal of said virus among the general populace. (emphasis added)

The department of health lists the condition “Coronavirus disease (COVID‐19)  caused  by SARS-CoV‐2  (positive by any method)” on its 2020 reported disease list. https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/health/documents/reportable-diseases/2020_List_For_Healthcare_Providers.pdf

The suit produces a copy of a complaint log filed by “anonymous” July 17 and hand-written forms filled out indicating calls and visits by county staffers seeking to enforce the mask rule. “Majority of customers and employees not wearing masks in establishment,” one report says. “Went over directive with Josh Sanders,” the owner’s son and the manager. The documents are administrative, and not sworn.

A notice form letter is dated July 29. It cites Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-2-102, a single sentence that declares violation of “a county board of health regulation” a misdemeanor. Criminally, the most damage to the business is a F$50 fine or 30 days in jail. Civilly, the notice says, notice gives grounds for lawsuit.

County attorney Rheubin Taylor sent a demand letter Aug. 12. “By this letter, we do hereby notify you that unless you immediately comply with said Directive No. 1, legal proceedings will be instituted against you and your business for said failure. Tennessee law provides that violations of said directive could result in fines and injunctions.”

Read the rest here.


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