A pro-liquor group has been allowed to join a controversial lawsuit currently taking place in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
On Friday, the organization Forging Ahead requested that the court permit them to join a case which seeks to challenge a liquor referendum passed in November 2012.
The referendum was passed by 100 votes and allows Pigeon Forge restaurants to serve customers liquor by the drink. Shortly thereafter, the vote was contested by an organization called Concerned Churches and Citizens of Pigeon Forge.
NBC News reports that the anti-liquor group filed a complaint against the Sevier County Election Commission calling for a new vote. The lawsuit claims that 300 ballots were submitted by voters who are not residents of Pigeon Forge.
Forging Ahead, comprised of local residents and business owners, sought to intervene in the court proceedings. The pro-liquor organization wished to take part because their concerns and interests were not being expressed in the lawsuit. The group spent approximately $20,000 campaigning for the referendum to be passed.
According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, the request was granted by a court on Friday and legal representatives for the group will be permitted to ask questions throughout the upcoming proceedings. Ken Maples, a Forging Ahead member and local businessman, relayed the group’s feelings about the motion:
“We’re happy that the judge ruled to give us the opportunity to represent the some 1,200 hundred voters that voted for this, as well as our group, Forging Ahead, that campaigned for it.”
Lewis Howard Jr., lawyer for Concerned Churches and Citizens of Pigeon Forge, expressed dismay about the decision to allow Forging Ahead to participate:
“We haven’t sued them. All this will do is add another lawyer questioning witnesses. [The lawsuit] is not about being for or against (liquor by the drink), it is about the validity of the election process.”
A motion to dismiss the case altogether has been made by Dennis Francis, lawyer for Sevier County Election Commission. He seeks dismissal on the grounds that the plaintiff does not have legal standing to file a complaint. Chancellor Telford Forgety plans to rule on the dismissal on Thursday, the day the trial is scheduled to begin.
Do you think the pro-liquor group Forging Ahead was right to join the controversial Pigeon Forge lawsuit?