Occupy Nashville attorneys urge judge to force deposition of Haslam, commissioners

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 1:08pm

Gov. Bill Haslam and two of his top commissioners are refusing to talk on the record with lawyers about how they decided to arrest Occupy Nashville protesters camped on War Memorial Plaza in 2011.

In response to a motion by Attorney General Robert Cooper to spare the high-ranking officials from depositions, lawyers representing the protesters are urging a judge to force the trio to share details only they know about deciding on curfew rules that led troopers to make 54 arrests at an Occupy Nashville protest in two midnight police raids.

“The Governor and the Commissioner should not be permitted to make statements freely to the press about their personal knowledge and involvement when it suits their public relations strategy, but in the next breath hide from deposition by claiming high ranking official immunity when they are sued for those very same actions,” read the motion filed by three local ACLU of Tennessee cooperating attorneys who filed the lawsuit for Occupy Nashville. “To do so would be patently unfair.”  

Attorneys had originally planned to depose the governor, Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons and General Services Commissioner Steven Cates by Friday of this week. Cooper pre-empted the depositions by asking for an order of protection, saying the state had already handed over 13,000 pages of documents. Additionally, five state government staffers — including the author of the curfew rules — gave depositions about meetings where decisions over the plaza’s “Use Policy” with a curfew were made.

“There is no evidence at this juncture that the defendants’ depositions would actually be necessary — the discovery can be had, and has been had, by other means,” stated Cooper’s motion from Jan. 2.

Filed by David Briley, Tricia Herzfeld and Patrick Frogge days after Occupy Nashville protesters were arrested in October 2011, the lawsuit seeks damages for what it alleges was an unconstitutional denial of protesters’ free speech.

The case is in the United States District Court in the Middle Tennessee District, and now awaits a ruling from Judge Aleta Trauger.

22 Comments on this post:

By: Jughead on 1/23/13 at 1:10

David Briley is a disgrace to Nashville. He needs to take his brother out for a cocktail and discuss pantyliners.

By: Rasputin72 on 1/23/13 at 1:17

I think Haslam should ask the Judge to get a Doctors opinion as to whether or not the "Occupiers" that are represented by these Attorneys qualify as legtimate human beings.

By: Ask01 on 1/24/13 at 4:56

In the interest of transparency in government, they should be forced to testify if for no other reason than to prove those in power are still subservient to the people.

Plus, watching Governor Haslam squirm would be so much fun.

On the other hand, these are politicians, so will they really tell the truth?

By: govskeptic on 1/24/13 at 5:01

Ask01: I think watching anyone squirm would be a turn on & fun for you. David
Briley's speech in Spanish on the Vanderbilt campus when running for
Mayor was as hilarious as this motion for depositions.

By: sonny1024 on 1/24/13 at 5:54

Governor Haslam will do the right thing lol,lol,lol,lol

By: Ask01 on 1/24/13 at 6:03

Actually, govskeptic, I enjoy watching government officials, law enforcement, judges, and authority figures in general having to own up to, and explain the reasoning and decision process behind their actions.

I am highly elated when they have to confess some personal bias or human failing when they chastise others for the same frailties.

Seeing pompous stuffed shirts deflated is a wonderful thing.

By: Ask01 on 1/24/13 at 6:05

sony1024, you are correct.

Governor Haslam will check polls, see which way the wind is blowing, and do the right, I mean safe thing.

By: Rasputin72 on 1/24/13 at 7:13

Ask01........Were it not for the people you refer to as stuffed shirts the there would be no jobs for people like you nor any revenue from taxes to produce food stamps and subsidized housing and free health care and free school lunches for your friends.

By: govskeptic on 1/24/13 at 7:32

Ask01: I agree with your last statement in full. Most however, have set up rules that
are very self-serving to protect themselves. It's usually some overpaid person that is also over titled sent out in public or to the cameras to explain the often unexplainable.
This, of course, has become universal Nation wide in both government & industry.

By: Jughead on 1/24/13 at 8:18

I just hate the ACLU--period.

By: pepawjoe on 1/24/13 at 9:17

I for one thinks that Gov Haslam has successfully isolated himself from the People of Tennessee. He and "HIS" advisors are FORCING their own Opinions on the People of this Great State. Haslam is utilizing "HIS" KNOW ALL, attitude, along with only a select few "HAND-PICKED" Individuals to FORCE HIS WILL onto the People's THOUGHT's and IDEAS.
HASLAM "DOES NOT KNOW ALL THERE IS TO KNOW"!!! The People of Tennessee do have "MINDS" to think with, and "MOUTH'S to """SPEAK""". It's way past time for Tennessee's Governor to "SHUT HIS DICTATOR STYLE MOUTH AND THOUGHT PROCESSES", let the People of Tennessee be a PART OF THE GOVERNMENT TOO!!!

By: Left-of-Local on 1/24/13 at 9:22

Haslam and his corporate teat administration will HAVE to be forced to allow justice to prevail. They'd prefer a totalitarian empire, and they'll get that if we let them.

By: Shadow63 on 1/24/13 at 10:01

Why would they object ???????????????????????

By: Jughead on 1/24/13 at 1:51

They object because every Occupytard in Nashville would file frivolous suits and seek to depose the governor for any willy-nilly reason. Depose him after he's done.

Worked for Slick Willy.

By: Ask01 on 1/25/13 at 6:17


What sort of peurile mangling of the english language is this? An ineffective, juvenile attempt at playground insults?

If this represents the mental age of those complaining about the idea behind the occupy movement, I'm surprised they can clean themselves after using the toilet, much less find their way to work and home without adult supervision.

Grow up and expand your limited vocabulary.

By: sonny1024 on 1/25/13 at 8:08

: Left-of-Local I agree with you on that but you have to remember he has the power of LEO to back him up and his decisions and we saw a little of that power when he turned the THP loose on the protesters.

By: Jughead on 1/25/13 at 11:42


By: Jughead on 1/25/13 at 11:44

@AsK01: Free advice: look up definition of "run-on" sentences before flaunting bankrupt grammar snarkiness.


By: Ask01 on 1/25/13 at 5:26

Perhaps I do employ run on sentences, in fact, I know I do. Since I suspect your intellectual shortfalls preclude your employment as an English teacher, your opinion of my writing skills is a moot and laughable point.

My point about your use of infantile words of dubious origin, however, stands valid and rock solid.

A limited vocabulary, combined with juvenile, immature personality makes for a dim, dismal future.

Your family has my condolences.

By: Jughead on 1/28/13 at 10:17

@Ass01: As usual, go sit in the corner and try to matter. John Kerry is waiting for you to comb some nuance into his hair.

You try WAY too hard to appear literate. Try government work--it is more your speed.

By: Ask01 on 1/29/13 at 5:45

Another ill considered, poorly executed attempt at sophmoric humor, childish taunts, and peurile insults.

You fail, Jughead. Miserably, I might add. Make your way to the outhouse and pout while you think up some other laughable comment.

Shoo, go away. The working adults are talking.

By: yucchhii on 1/30/13 at 12:44

JUGG HEAD...Once again you display your idiotic metallity!! i SAID THIS ONCE BEFORE AND i'LL SAY THIS again.... "I USED to think it was medically, mentally and physically impossible for a human to live without a brain, but YOU, JUGG HEAD, are PROVING me WRONG!!!
As for the Occupy people, "GO GET'EM Take the TRASH OUT!!"