Hamilton County government led by Mayor Jim Coppinger and his health department have offloaded liability for torts and civil rights violations to businesses whose owners and managers enforce his mask edict and other rules in the CV-19 panic.
Companies and owners are obeying mask rules, harassing customers, keeping people out of their “open to the public” stores and forbidding entry to properly dressed and clothed individuals who have not caused any public disorder or public offense.
And they are doing it without liability protection from the county, whose health department they are obeying.
They have been given no signed agreements, contracts or documents that make them agents of the county in chin diaper enforcement, according to county attorney Rheubin Taylor.
Neither are they indemnified for discriminatory acts imposed upon members of the public apart from duly enacted law. Business owners are not indemnified for their acts by any signed promise or covenant with Mayor Coppinger’s government, a records request indicates.
To ban properly attired people with bare faces is possibly a civil rights violation under 42 U.S. Code § 1985, conspiracy to interfere with civil rights. https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/1985.
It’s not clear how the Tennessee oppression statute is violated by business owners because they are not “public servants.”
Nor do there exist any promises by Mayor Coppinger that he will compensate businesses for their losses and their being shut down on Mr. Coppinger’s orders.
A query for documentation on these points is denied by county attorney Dana M. Beltramo on grounds that “no such records exist.”