published Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Smith slams Fleischmann for suing gun clubs, Walmarts, churches

by Larry Henry
Audio clip

Robin Smith ad

Chuck Fleischmann, a Chattanooga attorney seeking the open 3rd Congressional District seat, says a radio ad from his chief GOP rival, Robin Smith, criticizing lawsuits he has filed against “gun clubs and Walmarts and churches” misrepresents his legal work on behalf of ordinary people.

“I make a living standing up for the little guy, people who have traditionally not had a voice and who have been dealt injustices and been harmed,” he said. “When I go to Congress, I am going to continue to fight for the little guy.”

The 30-second spot, narrated by WGOW-AM 1150 personality Wally Witkowski, refers to Mr. Fleischmann as a “slip-and-fall trial lawyer” and asserts he became rich by “suing gun clubs and Walmarts and churches.”

The ad began airing Tuesday on WGOW and four small radio stations in the 3rd District, said Mrs. Smith’s campaign spokesman, Mark Winslow. He said the ad will run through July 30.

Early voting ends July 31, with the primary election being Aug. 5.

Court documents show Mr. Fleischmann has filed lawsuits on behalf of clients against the Chattanooga Rifle Club in Harrison, Tenn., the Walmart on Gunbarrel Road and the Ridgedale Baptist Church Child Development Center on Hickory Valley Road.

The rifle-club lawsuit, filed in Hamilton County Circuit Court in April 2003, alleged Steven Miller Laub was working on his property in Harrison with his wife, Debra Key, on April 13, 2002, when he was struck in the abdomen by a bullet fired at the gun club “from a .45-caliber open-bolt submachine gun.”

The suit claimed Mr. Laub suffered “serious injuries requiring medical treatment” and asked for $1.5 million in damages for Mr. Laub and $500,000 for his wife.

The suit against the Walmart store, filed in Circuit Court in 2005, alleged Mr. Fleischmann’s client, Robert Meeks, suffered “serious and disabling injuries” after tripping on “an unreasonably and dangerously placed yellow strip” on the floor. The suit asked for $175,000 for Mr. Meeks and $50,000 for his wife, Laucia Meeks, for “loss of services, consortium and society from her husband.”

The Circuit Court lawsuit against the Ridgedale Baptist Child Development Center alleged a 2-year-old boy was “struck by a table which fell or collapsed at the center” on Oct. 23, 1996.

Mr. Fleischmann said the three lawsuits were settled without going to trial and that all were resolved by “mutual agreement.”

He said last week he could not remember the settlement amount in the Walmart suit but that it was resolved “to both parties’ satisfaction.”

Mr. Fleischmann said he is prohibited “under a strict confidentiality” agreement from discussing the terms of the rifle-club settlement.

In the Ridgedale Baptist Child Development Center case, a court document shows the center was required to pay $47,500 to the injured 2-year-old to be invested by the Hamilton County Circuit Court Registry into a federally insured financial institution. The court awarded Mr. Fleischmann $15,833.33 in attorney fees.

Mr. Winslow said that suing a church is not equivalent to “fighting for the little guy.”

“The members of the church consider themselves to be little guys, too,” he said.

During the past week, the Fleischmann and Smith campaigns have complained that the other has engaged in negative advertising.

Mr. Fleischmann’s campaign began airing a television ad last week alleging Mrs. Smith, a Hixson health care consultant, left the state Republican Party with a financial shortfall after her term as chairwoman ended last year.

Mr. Winslow has said the Fleischmann TV ad is based on a “false allegation.”

In a Twitter posting on Friday, Mr. Fleischmann called Mrs. Smith a “typical politician” for claiming she is not attacking her opponents but then running a “misleading” radio ad against him.

Eleven Republicans, four Democrats and six independents are vying for the 3rd District seat held since 1995 by U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., who is running for governor. The 11-county district, representing about 650,000 people, stretches from the Georgia to Kentucky borders and includes Chattanooga, Cleveland and Oak Ridge.

Congress members are paid $174,000 annually.

Follow Tennessee and Georgia political news by clicking this link.

3rd District Candidates


Tommy Crangle

Chuck Fleischmann

Tim Gobble

Jean Howard-Hill

Harvey Howard

Van Irion

Rick Kernea

Art Rhodes

Robin Smith

Grover Travillian

Basil Marceaux Sr.


Alicia Mitchell

Brenda Freeman Short

Brent Davis Staton

John Wolfe


Don Barkman

Mark DeVol

Gregory C. Goodwin

Robert Humphries

Mo Kiah

Savas T. Kyriakidis

Source: Tennessee Department of State — Division of Elections

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
gm1220 said...

The Robin Times Free Press is at it again! Crying for Robin! So Chuck defending people that were injured, isn't that what he was asked to do? Something we should be crying about is when Robin was serving as TNGOP Chairman her salary was $100,000 plus a bonus!

Demoncrats vote in the Republican primary and vote for anyone but Robin! Let get rid of her!

July 25, 2010 at 1:24 p.m.
volunteer said...

Vote for Art Rhodes! This is the only candidate running for Congress that has ever balanced a federal budget. With Obama spending money that we don't have; we need someone that will be fiscally responsible. Vote to put a Southern Statesmen into Congress; not someone that bickers & plays politics; we have enough of those in Congress already. Vote ART RHODES!

July 25, 2010 at 3:06 p.m.

Art Rhodes already ran for Congress once and lost in Mississippi. Now he is trying his luck here. The one candidate in this race that is staying above the bickering and is native to the area is Tim Gobble. He is not just a southern Statesman but an East TN Statesman.

July 25, 2010 at 4:13 p.m.
ordinaryguy said...

It does not matter who you support...the fact is the so-called "journalist" (Larry Henry) did not even check his facts...He did not even give the correct radio station...what happened to true journalism???????

July 26, 2010 at 8:30 a.m.
bret said...

Mama always said, "If you can't find something nice to say about someone, you're probably talking about Robin Smith."

July 26, 2010 at 12:47 p.m.
bret said...

Wally Witkowski proves that Village Idiots love Robin Smith.

July 26, 2010 at 12:57 p.m.

That Fleischmann fella is clueless. Not to mention he's a plain 'ol sleazebag. He's everything that's WRONG with Washington - see the video for yourself:

July 28, 2010 at 11:33 p.m.
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