The “champion” of Tennessee smokers, one James S. Burnette, filed a lawsuit claiming that the smoking ban
violates his due process rights as well as the equal protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution. His suit says that the workplace smoking ban and the increase in taxes on tobacco products, “discriminates against Plaintiff, a smoker, and segregates him from all public places, and favors the non-smoker.” Burnette, who takes his right to smoke very seriously, names everyone from the governor to Ben West Jr. as defendants, and asks the court for $10,000 from each of them, claiming that they exhibited a “callous disregard of [his] rights.”
An Eastern District judge didn’t see things quite that way and recently dismissed the suit. According to the court, Burnette’s legal standing to challenge the tax increase and smoking ban was non-existent and his “claims are insufficient even if he had standing.” Also, the “defendants have legislative immunity.”
Other than that, he seemed to think Burnette had a case.
In any case, our plaintiff's fight is not over. Check out Burnette’s website
, home of the YesSIR-TN (Yes, Smoking In Restaurants) movement. A copy of his suit is there in PDF format and there is a “Smokers Events” calendar that is funny because it’s empty.