published Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Chris Anderson lawsuit adds Chattanooga, Tennessee to clarify recall laws

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    Chris Anderson has filed suit to halt a petition calling for his recall.
    Photo by Tim Barber.
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City Councilman Chris Anderson added Chattanooga and Tennessee to his lawsuit filed in mid-February to block an effort to recall him.

The amendments were filed Wednesday after Anderson's lawsuit challenged the state statute and city ordinance on recall efforts but didn't name either government entity in the suit. The Hamilton County Election Commission challenged the lawsuit, and Anderson's attorney, Stuart James, said he agrees both governments should be added.

"The suit is about answering important questions," James said. "Is the state recall statute constitutional? Is the city ordinance, which is a mirror of the state statute, constitutional?"

A group of District 7 residents is in the process of gathering signatures for a petition that would allow the voters to decide in August if Anderson should be unseated.

Recallers misread the amended suit and issued a news release, complete with statements from recall supporters, Wednesday afternoon that said Anderson and his attorney agreed to drop the suit.

"I am gratified with this dismissal of the lawsuit," George Goss, an East Lake resident said in the prepared statement. "I believe it will energize many people in the 7th District to believe that Chris Anderson can be recalled."

Goss said he was told by activist Charlie Wysong that the suit was dropped. Wysong, who is not a District 7 resident, is helping with the recall efforts. He also helped spearhead the efforts to get Anderson's domestic partner benefit ordinance to a public vote in August.

Wysong didn't return calls seeking comment.

The first hearing for several motions on Anderson's lawsuit is scheduled for March 10.

Contact staff writer Joy Lukachick at

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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