Group allowed to join liquor lawsuit

Sevier County Chancery Courtroom where motions were heard before a trial over liquor by the drink election results. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A third party will be allowed to join a lawsuit over the results of a November election in Pigeon Forge that allows for liquor by the drink sales.

Friday, Sevier County Chancellor Telford Fogerty ruled that he will allow a pro-liquor group to intervene in a lawsuit filed in November. Forging Ahead argued that they have an interest at the lawsuit and should be allowed to represent those who were in favor of the sales.

"We feel like we deserve a voice at the table, irregardless of how this thing goes, we feel like those voters that voted for this need representation," said Ken Maples with Forging Ahead.

The original lawsuit was filed in November by the Concerned Citizens and Churches of Pigeon Forge. They argued Forging Ahead should have filed their motion before 3 business days before the trial.

Dennis B. Francis, Attorney representing the Sevier County Election Commission, says he sees the argument over whether the election was handled properly, not whether or not liquor should be served in Pigeon Forge.

"What my position is, we need to see if we followed the law, see if we made any mistakes that are fatal to the election," said Francis. "You have people that voted for this, people that voted against this. There's a hundred votes swaying on a certified election by the state election board. So our job is to do what we have done which is to plow through, take the depositions of these folks and see what the heck happened."

Chancellor Fogerty will not allow Forging Ahead to call more witnesses for the trial.

Court is set to start on Thursday next week.

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