Court of Appeals upholds dismissal of East Ridge fireworks lawsuit

Court of Appeals upholds dismissal of East Ridge fireworks lawsuit

October 30th, 2012 by Staff Report in Local - Breaking News

The Tennessee Court of Appeals has upheld a local court's decision to dismiss a lawsuit against East Ridge for allowing the sale of fireworks within city limits.

A group of East Ridge residents joined forces with several fireworks retailers in the region to file a lawsuit. In it, they questioned the constitutionality of the city's decision to use a 2011 state law allowing East Ridge to sell fireworks.

The residents alleged their property values would be diminished by the stores' presence, while retailers claimed they had gone to great lengths to establish business in more sparsely populated counties, which was previously required by state law before the new law that was specially tailored for East Ridge. The new law, the retailers said, created "illegal competition."

Four fireworks stores opened up in East Ridge on July 1 this year.

Hamilton County Chancellor Frank Brown ruled in February that there was not enough evidence of "particularized harm" from the stores and dismissed the suit.

The group appealed to the state court shortly after.

"We think this case presents a novel question as to whether the Legislature can pick and choose whether a law like this can apply to just one area," the plaintiffs' attorney Jeff Yarbro said at the time.

But appellate court Judge Charles S. Susano, Jr. agreed with Brown, saying "the injuries alleged by the Plaintiffs are too speculative and conjectural to establish standing," according to the 13-page opinion, filed Tuesday.

For more information, read tomorrow's Times Free Press.