After a long, drawn out process, the legal battle between Save Our Fairgrounds and Nashville Soccer Holdings is over. Yesterday, Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle of the Nashville Chancery Court dismissed Save Our Fairgrounds’ case against the stadium with prejudice, a final ruling in the case that leaves SOF unable to appeal. Here’s the official verdict:
“Upon studying and construing the law, and applying it to the evidence adduced at trial, the Court concludes that the Plaintiffs have not proven that the construction and operation of the Development on the Fairgrounds Nashville Property is ultra vires, a breach of fiduciary duty or violates the Metro Charter. The proof established that the Existing Uses (including providing a divisional fair) and the Development can ciably coexist on the Fairgrounds Nashville. In addition, the Court finds that as Metro and the Intervening Defendants are planning, designing and undertaking construction of the Development, they are proceeding in good faith and continue the Existing Uses on The Fairgrounds Nashville along with the Development. The evidence showed that there is no intent or design of Metro or the Intervening Defendants to destroy or eliminate the Existing Uses.
“It is therefore ORDERED that all of the Plaintiffs’ claims to halt construction of and operation of the Development, as asserted in the January 3, 2019 Second Amended Complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief, are denied and dismissed with prejudice. Court costs are taxed to the Plaintiffs.”
Save Our Fairgrounds has opposed the stadium construction at the Fairgrounds from the beginning, filing their first lawsuit shortly after funding was approved by the Nashville Metro Council by a vote of thirty-one to six back in November 2017. The group has filed and appealed several times (a full timeline of their most recent suit can be found here). The latest ruling to dismiss their suit with prejudice effectively ends the legal battle against the stadium, eliminating a potential appeal and putting Nashville Soccer Holdings and Metro Nashville in the clear.
Initially set to open in 2021, delays in construction (in part caused by the legal battle, as well as a drawn out re-negotiation by Mayor Cooper) have pushed the planned opening date back to May 2022.
Nashville SC currently play at Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans. Their first home match drew a crowd of 59,069 back in February 2020, and has been their only opportunity to have a full crowd for a match due to Covid-19. Their new stadium at the Fairgrounds is set to have a capacity of 30,000, making it the largest soccer-specific stadium in the United States.