I created the Sanctuary expressly for Tarra and have no intention of removing her from her home. But due to the changes in management at the Sanctuary since my removal, specifically the departure of co-founder Scott Blais and the entire senior caregiver staff, I feel an urgency to monitor Tarra’s wellbeing.
On August 17, I filed a Motion for Pendente Lite Relief in the Chancery Court of Lewis County, Tennessee. The motion asked the court for an order allowing me visitation with Tarra and for another requiring the defendant to remove certain documents filed before the court. The motion was to be heard September 7 but was postponed by opposing council and rescheduled for October 17.
Days before the hearing, opposing council filed a thick brief with the court arguing against the motions and the hearing. The brief mirrored opposing counsel’s previous attempts at character assassination and avoided any discussion of their client’s breach of contract regarding my visitation with Tarra. Instead, the brief contained a battery of insults, unfounded accusations and downright lies to distract the court from the issue of visitation.
The judge ruled to hear the motion.
My attorney argued that the Sanctuary had reneged on an agreement allowing me access to Tarra. It has been 18 months since I was last allowed to see Tarra and evaluate her wellbeing.
Opposing council argued that a request for visitation did not fall within the court’s authority.
The judge explained that the courts view Tarra as property and, as such, he could grant permission to “inspect” her only in the event that I planned to remove her from Sanctuary grounds. Since removing Tarra from her Sanctuary home is not my intention, the motion for visitation was denied.
In a heartening display of empathy, the judge assured me and all present in the courtroom that my request was very reasonable, but that the law does not have a provision allowing him to grant the request.
The second part of my motion, a request to remove specific documents from the Sanctuary’s website was also heard. My lawyer pointed out that several anonymous, unsigned inflammatory letters were posted on the Sanctuary site along with their response to my lawsuit. The letters, written by disgruntled employees, most of whom had not been employed by the Sanctuary for years, contained vicious and false accusations. It was argued that these letters should either be removed or the authors identified.
Citing First Amendment rights, the judge ruled that the letters do not have to be removed. He explained that people are allowed to say anything they wish. It is up to the person being wrongly accused to sue for slander.