Nashville music producer's home business lawsuit reaches Tennessee Supreme Court

East Nashville music producer fights to work from home
Posted at 7:16 PM, Jan 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-26 20:17:30-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — For years, Lij Shaw produced music out of his home-based East Nashville recording studio. “In 2005 I finally fulfilled my dream of moving my studio down to my garage,” he said.

Until it all came to a stop in 2015.

"Ironically we received a Grammy and then a month later we received a cease and desist letter from the city,” he said. That letter said Shaw was violating a zoning ordinance by serving clients from his home business.

“I just couldn’t believe it, I didn’t know what I was going to do to be able to support my family, to take care of my kid, put food on the table,” said Shaw.

He eventually filed a lawsuit against the city in 2017.

But three years later in 2020 came a glimmer of hope — because of the pandemic, Metro Council approved a bill that would temporarily allow up to six clients at home businesses like Shaw’s. The problem? That law expires in 2023.

“So we decided to keep the lawsuit going and we just kept being patient and moving it up the latter and now we’re about to have it heard in the Supreme Court of Tennessee,” said Shaw.

His case moved through the courts to the state's supreme court where both sides made virtual arguments Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking before the law expires next year, leaving business owners like Shaw without a clear road ahead. "We just want equal and fair treatment under the law so we can all work from home and make a living ourselves,” said Shaw.

The court will take both sides' arguments under advisement and issue a ruling when ready.