Andrew Wimer
Andrew Wimer · October 11, 2023

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Two Nashville small business owners will continue to challenge the city’s unfair rules governing home-based businesses after a Davidson County court ruled against them yesterday. Record producer Lij Shaw and hairstylist Pat Raynor, represented by the Institute for Justice (IJ) and the Beacon Center of Tennessee, sued the city in 2017 after it shut down their businesses without any evidence the small businesses were harming the surrounding neighborhood. 

“Lij and Pat have a constitutional right to use their homes to earn an honest living,” IJ Senior Attorney Paul Avelar said. “But Nashville treats their home-based businesses worse than other, privileged, home-based businesses for no real reason. This kind of arbitrary favoritism has no reasonable justification, and no basis in the Tennessee Constitution.”

“It’s disappointing that the court didn’t see that Nashville’s rules for home-based businesses are unfair,” said Pat. “We’re going to continue fighting for basic fairness and we’ll go back to the Tennessee Supreme Court if we have to.”

After they sued and as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nashville permitted Lij and Pat to have six client visits a day at their home-based businesses subject to some invasive and burdensome requirements. But the city allows other home-based businesses, including short-term rentals, home daycares, historic homes, and others, to have 12 clients daily, free from the additional requirements. To eliminate the unfair treatment, Lij and Pat continued their suit.

Last year, the Tennessee Supreme Court vacated lower court rulings and allowed their lawsuit to continue. The court remanded the case back to the trial court for further consideration. Pat and Lij will now ask the Tennessee Court of Appeals to vindicate their constitutional rights.