NFIB files Amicus Brief defending Tennessee home-based small businesses

The case concerns arbitrary zoning restrictions on home-based businesses

NASHVILLE – NFIB filed an amicus brief in the case Elijah “LIJ” Shaw et al., v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson Countyat the Tennessee Supreme Court. The case concerns a lawsuit filed by two homeowners challenging a metropolitan code provision that prevented them from serving customers at their home-based businesses.

“Many small businesses begin in people’s homes and on their private property,” said Karen Harned, Executive Director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center. “Small business owners have a fundamental right to earn a living and the right to use their property. Unreasonable zoning restrictions, as highlighted in this case, interfere with those rights.”

“Small businesses are a crucial part of Tennessee’s economy and local communities,” said Jim Brown, NFIB Tennessee State Director. “The government is punishing small businesses who work out of their home-based business without evidence that their business caused harm or disruption to neighboring homes. We urge the court to stand up for Tennessee’s small businesses and reject this standard.”

NFIB argues Tennessee courts should adopt “real and substantial” basis review as the minimum standard for challenges brought under Tennessee’s due process and equal protection clauses and reverse the lower court’s decision.

The NFIB Small Business Legal Center protects the rights of small business owners in the nation’s courts. NFIB is currently active in more than 40 cases in federal and state courts across the country and in the U.S. Supreme Court. 

For more than 75 years, NFIB has been advocating on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners, both in Washington, D.C., and in all 50 state capitals. NFIB is nonprofit, nonpartisan and member-driven. Since our founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses, and remains so today. For more information, please visit

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