Michael Rowan, a candidate for Davidson County General Sessions judge, is accused of physically assaulting a court process server at his Green Hills-area residence while he was being served a civil warrant.
Metro Nashville Police Department spokeswoman Kristin Mumford confirmed the department is investigating a complaint against Rowan from Kasey and Jeremy Frank, a married couple who work together as private process servers.
The Franks allege Rowan, following a verbal tirade, struck Jeremy Frank in the back of the head on May 26 after they arrived at his Woodvale Drive home to serve him a warrant involving a suit, filed last November, in which the legal research company LexisNexis claims he owes it $8,600.
Kasey Frank said their complaint accuses Rowan of physical and verbal assault: “I ended up having to take my husband to the hospital,” she said. “He had a massive bump on the back of his head, and he had to have a CT scan.”
Police so far have not filed charges in the alleged incident.
Rowan, an attorney, is running as an independent for General Session judge against Democrat Rachel Bell. The election is set for Aug. 2. Rowan is a military veteran and was a “renowned” boxer, according to his campaign website.
Prior to the episode, Kasey Frank said she and her husband had attempted to serve Rowan notice of the LexisNexis suit at his campaign office and law office, but he had “evaded” them. Over Memorial Day weekend, they decided to serve Rowan at his residence.
“It didn’t go over very well,” she said.
Rowan, in an interview with The City Paper, acknowledged punching a man, but said he did not know the individual, Jeremy Frank, was trying to serve him. “If they were wanting to serve me, the last thing I’m going to do is not take service of process,” Rowan said.
Rowan, recalling the Saturday episode, said neighbors across the street were having a party that day and had parked cars in front of his house. While taking a shower, Rowan said he heard someone banging loudly on his door. He answered it.
“I thought he was trying to get permission to park in my driveway,” Rowan said of the visitor. “He never told me who he was.”
Rowan claims he closed the door and returned to the shower, but continued to hear banging and noticed Frank peeking through his window. He said he put his jeans on, went back to the door and asked, “What’s your problem?”
Rowan said, “We had some words, he had an advance, and then I hit him with an over right hook.”
But the accusers have a much different account.
Recounting what Kasey Frank said she plans to tell the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility, Frank said her husband knocked on Rowan’s door while she remained in the car. Rowan came out and said, “He’s not home.” Jeremy Frank, however, identified Rowan as the defendant based on a photo.
Jeremy Frank came back to his car. His wife encouraged him to go back to the house to notify Rowan that he would have to tell the judge he had evaded service.
“I didn’t think Mr. Rowan would do anything unacceptable, as he’s an attorney running for judge,” Kasey Frank said, though her husband had expressed concern over Rowan’s pedigree as a boxer.
Despite apprehension, Kasey Frank said her husband knocked on the door a second time and took a few steps back from the house. “Mr. Rowan came out of the house, and before [Jeremy] could speak with him, he ran at him, shoved him, and yelled, ‘You want a piece of me?’ ” she said.
Jeremy Frank responded that he was simply delivering court documents and doing his job, according to his wife.
Using an expletive, Rowan told Jeremy, “You’re on my property!” Kasey Frank recalled. “You want a piece of this, boy?” she said Rowan continued.
After Jeremy Frank had turned around to walk back to his car, Rowan came up from behind him and punched him in the back of the head, according to the couple’s complaint. Kasey Frank said Rowan continued punching and her husband shielded himself.
Kasey Frank said she yelled at Rowan to stop hitting him because he’s an officer of the court. She alleges Rowan then used an expletive at her and warned, “I’ll go after you next.”
“He was quickly coming towards the car,” Kasey Frank said. “I had just enough time to get back in and lock the door before he grabbed a handle. Then he looked at me at the back door as I locked it before he could get in. I was trembling. My husband made it back to the car. We took off. Then, I called 911.”