CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023 – I have fought to depose the commissioner of revenue, David Gerragano, but for the sake of 25,000 people and for the sake of not wasting my time, I believe I will may drop this demand as part of discovery.
By David Tulis / NoogaRadio Network
The breach of law is so brazen, so shocking, that no facts are needed and the case can be decided purely as a matter of law, one might argue. But the courts have a low regard for law, so perhaps obtaining facts to bolster my analysis is needed.
To improve prospects for relief.
I filed suit against the department of safety within its agency in July and thus far have fought to recuse the hearing officer, Brad Buchanan, and also to depose the tax boss in charge of handling part of the Tennessee financial responsibility act of 1977 he is abusing by ignoring the entire first section of the law.
But the more I have investigated the department’s abuse of the law, the more convinced I am that there is no legal necessity to interrogate Mr. Gerregano about his abuses, to have him condemn himself from his own lips.
Camille Cline, the attorney for the commissioner in the proceedings, plans to file a motion for summary judgment. That means, from the commissioner’s perspective, there are no facts in dispute.
She is correct, and that motion will prevail, most likely, if I don’t agree with her and file petition interlocutory. My motion for discovery (3 pages demanding details of the shift from Tennessee’s being a financial responsibility state to a compulsory insurance state), and my notice of deposition, to elicit fact, are not needed, she might say.
My case to have a proper administration of the Tennessee financial responsibility act of 1977 is remarkable for the simplicity of the claim.
The claim is that the department has converted, without benefit of a change in-law, the state of Tennessee from a after crash financial responsibility state into a compulsory insurance state. Most states are compulsory insurance states. They make it a requirement before registration of a car and before a license is obtained to use the public road for commerce, that the party have proof of Insurance. An insurance trade groups says 49 states are compulsory insurance states.
But Tennessee is not among them. In 1999 a bill to change the system by Arnold Stulce of Soddy-Daisy was rejected.
Even if it had passed, the bill to add another section to the law does not appear to have done edits in the first sections of the law that explain how a driver or operator of a car becomes subject to it.
The law today puts a person under duty following a qualifying crash. That is an accident involving one or more motor vehicles, not necessarily cars or automobiles, that brings more than F$1,500 in property damage and bodily harm or death. Once the crash happens, the person in the car is liable for performance under law.
Mr. Gerregano is enforcing the law as if having insurance were a precondition to using the road. Mrs. Cline says the four methods of proof a financial responsibility remain on the table even though her department’s policy destroys the need for the options – one of them, for example, being the requirement that one can establish financial responsibility by buying a bond up to $65,000. If insurance is a precondition and all cops demand to see the insurance card, how does the bond option work?
She describes provisions such as these as “leftover” laws that are effectively inoperative because of policy.
To use the road without insurance, she says in an interview, one can send the commissioner F$65,000 or buy a bond for F$65,000.
The General Assembly does not have authority to require a payment to the state or to a bondsman of F$65,000 before using the public road. That is not in view in the law, and it appears patently absurd to let revenue policy push her into such a position as to argue that the law is thus transmogrified.
The gnomes with whom I consult in this litigation trace 19 voided provisions of the law. The rules of statutory construction forbid any construing a law in such a way as to void, nullify or abrogate any provisions.