Updated August 3, 2020
Those who reside in the Peninsula appreciate the convenience and magnificence of San Francisco International Airport. With no runway noise issues for decades, a dramatic increase towards the end of 2015 changed all that. Today, roars emanating from planes taking off, and engine-testing at night, can be deeply upsetting and disturbing for adults and children; it's interfered with our use and enjoyment of property; it prevents our ability to have natural ventilation if windows must be shut to reduce the booming jet blasts. The law is on our side.
It's indisputable that San Francisco is legally responsible for remediating whatever caused the drastic change. Contrary to what federal and state laws dictate, and what the California Supreme Court has ruled, the City and County of San Francisco (CCSF) declines to admit their responsibility in small claims court. How can they do that? Because, without significant community pressure, they just do.
To apply that needed pressure, our group supplies residents (owners or renters over the age of 18) all necessary information, forms, instructions, coaching, and explanations on this website to make a small claims court appearance easy.
Participation is inexpensive, informal, and takes relatively little time. You may bring friends and family to sit with you when you share your runway noise experience with the judge, your back to the courtroom. Small claims court may schedule us together in small groups; we will provide you a helpful online booklet before your appearance; you may read your testimony instead of memorizing it; the judge won't interrogate you; the defense won't argue with you. It's a lot easier than you see on TV.
Those in our group who were awarded compensation by the judge (who stated that the airport runway noise is an "ongoing private nuisance") in our first hearing have received checks from CCSF after the defense lost its appeal.
More than half of the plaintiffs in Rounds One and Two did not receive their rightful compensation due to a rule the defense presented that said if you didn't own your current home before 1980, you couldn't file a runway noise claim. Initially we assumed the rule was legitimate, but as time passed, something about it just didn't add up. Subsequent research clearly proves that the rule the defense presented cannot be used in small claims court. We will ensure that the judge for Round Three is aware of this before our appearances begin, whenever that will be.
You may want to go to the "table of defense claims" next to see invalid claims the defense has made. Or you may want to go to the "first paperwork" tab to get a feel for the paperwork. Try the "more" tab and scroll down to "what may be the cause" to learn what's changed at the airport. It's all there.
Thank you, Sally