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Law suit / Adrian Paul McClaren (plantiff vs. United Health Services d/b/a Compass Intervention Center
On Tuesday October 6, 2008 I would accompany the Honorable Attorney Kirk D. Lyons and the Honorable Attorney T. Tarry Beasley II to the Memphis Courthouse where they would file in the 3oth Judicial Circuit a lawsuit on behalf of Adrian Paul McClaren (Plantiff ) vs. United health Services , Inc. d/b/a Compass Intervention Center (Defendant ). As Attorney Beasley and Attorney Lyons filed the lawsuit, I would deliver the following statement to the Press on behalf of Mr. McClaren: My name is HK Edgerton. It is an honor and pleasure to be here today on behalf of my good friend and brother Paul McClaren. Paul would be here himself, but is beginning a new job after being unlawfully terminated by Compass Intervention Center, one year ago for displaying a State of Mississippi issued Sons of Confederate Veteran Vanity License Plate on his vehicle that also had a Confederate Battle Flag Plate on the front bumper as well.
For 5 years, since 2002, Paul has parked his vehicle in the Compass Intervention Parking lot with that License Plate of Mississippi whose insignia displayed the State of Mississippi Flag that in a voter referendum, the honorable citizens, Red, Yellow, Black and White voted not to change, 2. The National insignia of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and 3. The proud words indicating that he is a Son of a Confederate Veteran. The insignia of the same State Flag that I proudly carried across the Great State of Mississippi on the Historical March Across Dixie in 2002 and heard a young Black girl shout out as I cross a bridge in Meridian , Mississippi: “My God Johnny has finally come marching home”.
For 5 long years, Paul has parked his car, entered the building of his employer that was filled to capacity with some of the most troubled inner city youth that this State has to offer. Counseling and trying to instill in these youth, the very same social values that make him Southern; Yes sir, yes mam, please, and the belief that they too could achieve social vertical mobility if they apply themselves , and importantly that he a Southern man who believes in our Father who art in Heaven, and would be there at Intervention fighting to help make it so for them.
Over a period of 11 days, Compass Intervention CEO Nashon McPherson directed Paul to play hide and seek with his vehicle, so that patients and patrons could not see the Confederate flag front tag, even after discovering that the vehicle also had the Mississippi State Flag that I have described.
Even though Paul is aware of no complaints from Compass patrons or patients, on October 8, 2007, Paul was terminated , even though he did his best to comply with McPherson’s Alice in Wonderland requests.
Paul hopes to make a little law that will protect Confederate Southern Americans in the workplace.
1. That retaliatory discharge laws of Tennessee will protect Tennessee workers from being fired for inoffensive display of any State issued license plate. Most Southern states have state issued plates with the Sons of Confederate Veterans logo, including Tennessee- a favorable decision for Paul could affect how employers in TN. Treat their SCV employees with SCV tags.
2. That the public policy of Tennessee will prevent a worker from being fired for inoffensive display of a venerated object – such as the Confederate Battle Flag.
3. That the public policy of Tennessee will prevent a worker from being fired after being threatened with termination because of a bogus criminal charge of harassment.
Paul is represented by the Honorable Kirk D. Lyons, Chief trial Counsel for the Southern Legal Resource center, and local attorney the Honorable T. Tarry Beasley, II of Memphis. Both are active members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
The Southern Legal Resource Center is the preeminent law firm defending Confederate Heritage in the courtroom today, with current cases in South Carolina, Texas, Louisiana, and Tennessee.
I will be happy to answer any questions.
1. Mr. Edgerton, could Compass have handled this any differently? Yes. Had there been any complaints from their staff, they could have followed the lead of the Alcoa Plant in Badin, N.C. who several years back offered their employees Sensitivity training that led to a complete understanding of Southern Heritage and a knowledge that it was one to be shared.
2. Was Mr. McClaren distressed over losing his job? Yes of course he was, wouldn’t you be if you loss the income that provided for you and your family. Furthermore Paul was dedicated to the public that he served and was concerned about their well being as well.
3. Do you think that the public who visited the Center was sensitive about Mr. McClaren’s license plates. Many of the patrons who visited the Center had cars that had the very same kind of plates on their cars, and probably felt they too had the same right to 1st amendment protection to do so as did Paul. Furthermore, there was not to my knowledge one single complaint expressed by a patron or staff member other than Mr. McPherson.
4. What do you think was on the minds of those Black staff members of Intervention who had to look at the license plates every day? First of all, they knew the man Paul. Kind ,considerate, hard working and dependable. For those who call themselves Southern, there should have been a knowledge that it is not just Paul’s flag. The Southern Cross belongs to any Black man of the South who wants to lay claim to it. Black folks earned a place of honor and dignity in service of this flag. It is theirs, it is what makes us Southern, no matter those who continue to try and separate us from it and our Southern White family.