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Examples of Safer Mosquito Control Programs

Below is a list of LEGAL ACTIONS that have been taken against the Health Department. The department is aware of at least 7 pedestrians who report symptoms and has had 2 lawsuits against them for serious injuries. While many other citizens reported symptoms while in the "safety" of their homes.

Emmett Clifford was sprayed by a Health Department spray truck at close range as he drove in his neighborhood in October of 2003. He alleges he lost 50% of his lung capacity as a result. He filed a lawsuit against the city and the chemical company. (Clifford vs Metropolitan Board of Public Health Docket #04C2963, Circuit Court of Davidson County, TN and Clark Mosquito Control Products). Clarke Mosquito Control Settled with the man and in September 2008 a judge in Nashville ruled that the driver breached his duties and was negligent. Click here to learn more.

2.) TWO MEN SPRAYED in 2004 FILE LAWSUIT AGAINST THE CITY In 2004, three lawncare workers were working outside with ear protection on while a spray truck came down the road. The three men were overcome by the drift of the spray. They experience red, burning skin and had to quit work. The Health Department officials one of the men spoke with later said the spray couldn't have caused the problems. However, burning skin is listed on the Material Safety Data Sheet as a symptom of exposure. Two of the men have had long-term health problems related to the spraying. They have filed a lawsuit against the city. (Moye vs Metropolitan Board of Public Health, Circuit Court of Davidson County, TN)

Three Nashville citizens filed an appeal of the Health Director Dr. Stephanie Bailey's decision to spray pesticides in October 2004 and for failure to improve protection and information for Nashville citizens. The appeal was "lost" by the Director's office and "thrown away" by the Chair of the Board Mr. Bill Hance. When the citizen resent the appeal letter to the Assistant Director they were told that the letter would be provided to the Board in their packet for the December meeting and the citizens should attend that meeting. However, when the citizens were called upon at the meeting it was discovered that none of the Board members received the letter in their packet. The Health Board should have scheduled a hearing or sent it to an administrative law judge. Instead, the appeal was denied. At every Board meeting there is normally a Metro attorney to counsel the board. However, at this meeting there was no legal counsel present.

The three citizens sent a letter asking the board to reconsider but the board's attorney responded saying that the December meeting WAS the hearing for the appeal. By law, at an appeal hearing, both the petitioners and the Health Director should have been given time to present any relevant and competent infomation. This did not happen.

A lawsuit (Writ of Certiorari) was filed to protect their due process rights (and yours). The Board attorney Margaret Holleman argued to deny much of the supporting documentation the attorney for the citizens presented for the case. Judge McCoy struck the documentation from the record and ruled against the citizens. The Appeals Court sent this lawsuit back to Judge McCoy and stated that the petitioners were automatically granted standing because of the failure of the Board to inquire about standing before they denied the appeal. The Appeals Court Judges sent the lawsuit back to Judge McCoy with instructions to reconsider her ruling. On August 9, 2007, Judge McCoy ruled that the decision to deny the appeal was arbitrary and capricious. (Sumner, Snyder and Frazier vs Metropolitan Board of Public Health #05-416-II, Chancery Court of Davidson County, TN, attorney Joseph Johnston)

In hindsight, citizens have speculated that the multitude of attempts to silence citizens and delay a fair evidentuary hearing might have been efforts designed to protect the Health Director from the two civil suits that have been filed by citizens who were injured. The citizens involved in the first appeal had been complaining long before people were injured about the inadequate notification and the drivers who were frequently reported leaving the spray on when pedestrians were clearly visible. What happened in the years following the filing of this first appeal leads many to believe that this theory could be correct.

Metro Code clearly allows any citizen who is affected by the Health Director's decision an opportunity to have a voice by giving them the right to appeal the decision. However, in March 2005, the Board passed a new policy that limits a citizen's right to file an appeal against the Health Director. This appeared to be a direct effort to silence complaints about the Director of Health's actions. Under attorney Margaret Holleman's advice the Board made a change to the law illegally without public notice or a public hearing as required by law. One significant change in this new policy is that it requires an affected person to be palpably injured by the actions of the Health Director.

Twenty Nashville citizens filed an appeal of the Health Director's decision to spray pesticides in 2005 and for failure to improve notification, protection and information for Nashville citizens. Many of the petitioners met the requirements of an affected person under the new illegally made appeals policy. 12 of the citizens had been directly sickened or injured by the Health Dept's spraying. By law the Board of Health should have given them a public hearing permitting them to present any relevant and competent infomation. Instead the Health Board's lawyer Margaret Holleman was ready to make sure citizens would not be heard. She blindsided citizens (who had unwisely shown up without an attorney) by totally misinterpreting the intent of their appeal letter. Citizens stood before the Board telling them that the lawyer was misinterpreting the intent of the letter and pointed out they were appealing the director's decision to spray. The Board denied citizens a hearing based on Ms. Holleman's convenient misinterpretation of the letter rather than listening to the citizens who wrote the appeal letter.

Not long after she successfully blocked this second appeal, Margaret Holleman was offered a new high ranking position for the Health Director at the Nashville Metro Public Health Department as Director of Policy Development and Analysis. Was this her reward?

A lawsuit has been filed to protect their due process rights (and yours). Read about the simple actions 20 citizen's requested for the public's protection. Citizens are currently seeking an appeal of a ruling made in 2008 on this case.
(Sumner, Flynn, Snyder, Wallenstein and Wood vs Metropolitan Board of Public Health #05-2807-IV, Chancery Court of Davidson County, TN, attorney Joseph Johnston)

28 citizens filed another appeal of the Health Director's decision to spray pesticides in June 2006. The secretary of the Health Board told the citizens that she gave the appeal to the Board. However, attorney Margaret Holleman who was now working for the Health Director claimed the appeal was "misfiled". This resulted in delay of a month. Citizens wised up and hired an attorney and a court reporter to provide a transcript of the Board meeting proceedings. The Board and their attorney finally followed the law and turned this appeal over to an administrative law judge.

Citizens were pleased at first until they saw the instructions that were given to the Administrative Law Judge. The Board asked the judge to rule only on whether the citizens were "affected persons" and if the appeal was an appeal as described in the new illegally made appeals policy they passed in 2005. The judge was not asked to hold an evidentuary hearing. This was an extremely unusual request. The result of this request was a lengthy delay for the evidentuary hearing.

18 citizens testified before Judge Marion Wall twice in Novemeber 2006 & in February 2007. Former Metro attorney Margaret Holleman came to each hearing (in her role as Director of Policy and Analysis for the Metro Public Health Department) and sat at the side of the Metro attorney. In another stunning example of the lack of professionalism by some people on staff at the Nashville Metro Public Health Department, Margaret Holleman giggled and even laughed out loud during the testimony of a number of citizens who were testifying before the judge about their hypersensitivities to pesticides. March 2008 the judge ruled that 9 citizens were affected persons and had the right to appeal the policy. The department's will to require citizens prove they were affected delayed the hearing on the actual policy for 1 1/2 years. So, by the time the citizens were ruled affected persons, no hearing would be held on the policy since it was old.

UPDATE: In July 2006, Health Director Dr. Stephanie Bailey announced she would leave her position at the Metro Public Health Department in August 2006. There have been no the "inadvertent misfiling and misplacement" of citizen appeals since she left. Prior to Bailey's reign, the Health Board held hearings when citizens filed appeals and did not "misplace" them. There have been many changes that improved the health and environment of Nashville because of those procedings. The president of BURNT, Bruce Wood claims that past directors were willing to listen, learn and consider opposing views.

We ask that the new director Dr. Bill Paul and other officials come up with protocol and policies to protect the public from pesticides in addition to improving protection from mosquito-borne illness with a strong emphasis on source reduction (which is the most effective form of mosquito control). We also ask Dr. Paul to require that his staff be competent, professional and responsible.

6.) June 2, 2008, 13 citizens file an appeal against the Board of Health for arbitrarily and capriciously approving the 2008 mosquito control policy which allows drivers to leave the spray on in the presence of pedestrians and removes the ability of citizens to opt out their property from spraying. This policy is unreasonable, risks our health, and does not comply with the law. Metro legal fought to have this appeal dismissed and Judge McCoy agreed. We are appealing the decision.

1. Risks: West Nile versus Anvil 2+2
2. Who is at Risk for Adverse Effects from Anvil 2+2?
3. Standard precautions
Why other cities have chosen not to spray
Non-toxic, effective ways to get mosquitoes to quit bugging you
Upcoming Events and Who to Contact to Complain
Great links for more information
INCIDENT REPORT (if you have had any adverse effects, click here!)
COMPLAINT FORM (if trucks spray people outside or other complaints)


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