Caryville wants free speech suit dismissed

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By Susan Sharp

In what has become a battle of court filings the town of Caryville has requested the current civil action filed against them by Steve Hale be dismissed.

Hale, the owner of Adult World, LLC., recently asked the court to rule that his business not be held to the Caryville ordinances that regulate adult orientated businesses. He claimed the ordinances were unconstitutional and prohibited free speech. Nude dancing is a form of free speech, Hale’s previous filings said.

But now, the town has filed its own petition. In that town officials want Hale’s case dismissed.

A variety of arguments is given as to why Chancellor Billy Joe White should not allow the case to move forward.

Among these is Hale’s complaint does not follow the state rules for how civil cases are handled in the judicial system.

A pleading must present a claim to the court that is “short and plain” that demonstrates how the plaintiff is entitled to relief, Caryville’s filing said. It must also have a demand for judgment in the case. Robert Watson, who represents Caryville, said Hale’s complaint of “37 pages with 21 claims for relief fails to comply with Rule 8 (of civil procedure).”

Watson further said Hale’s claim has “no basis in law or fact.”

The ordinances Hale cites in his original complaint have since been superceded by an Oct. 2009 regulation, according to court records. Therefore, any action taken by someone pertaining to those acts would be moot, Watson said.  

Adding to his grounds for the dismissal Watson said Hale didn’t have the capacity to file his suit.

There has not been any action taken by the town against Hale or his business, the court filing said.

A date has not been set for this case to be heard.