On Wednesday (3/6/2019) three different requests from the sheriff's office and DA to throw out "Operation Candy Crush" lawsuits were all denied by U.S. Middle Tennessee District Court Judge Aleta Trauger.
Judge Trauger denied all three motions dealing with the botched February 12, 2018 case in which 23 local businesses here in Rutherford County were raided and padlocked. Owners told officials that the candy contained CBD, which is legal here and nationwide. Authorites stood firm, and shut-down and padlocked the businesses for selling products that contained CBD.
The raids were completed under a court order and carried out by the Rutherford County Sheriffs Office, local agencies along with backing by the TBI, DEA and FBI. The businesses were padlocked after undercover agents allegedly bought candy that contained CBD.
The district attorney dropped the charges, as it reportedly was learned that it was not illegal to sell products containing CBD in Tennessee.
A group of local business owners are the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against defendants: Rutherford County Sheriffs office and Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh, District Attorney General Jennings Jones and Assistant DA John Zimmerman.
The DA asked that the courts dismiss the lawsuits because the plaintiffs allegedly failed to state a claim.
Judge Trauger denied the requests. However, law enforcement and the district attorney will have another opportunity to file a motion to dismiss after the discovery process.
This lawsuit was originally filed by Cloud 9 Hemp owner James Swain Rieves and other plaintiffs were added.
In the filing, Rieves claims that legal merchandise was seized which caused loss of business, serious mental and emotional distress, diminished reputation and standing in the community and other charges. The business owners felt that their civil rights had been violated, CLICK HERE for a copy of the lawsuit.
The lawsuit specifically states (#47): Rutherford County Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh and Smyrna Police Chief Kevin Arnold held a press conference, standing beside Rutherford County District Attorney Jennings Jones, where they gloated about "OPERATION CANDY CRUSH," and accused Mr. Rieves of selling illegal narcotics to children.