Defense Claim #5 - CCSF isn't responsible for the airport noise
The law says the airport proprieter IS responsible. Fifteen rulings are listed below.
PART ONE: INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY OF THE 1976 AVIATION NOISE ABATEMENT POLICY
Those who anticipate a complete federal solution to aircraft noise problem misunderstand the need for federal, local, and private interaction. The primary obligation to address the airport noise problem always has been and remains a local responsibility.
Federal Rulings Have Established that Airport Proprietors are Responsible.
1962 - Under the United States Supreme Court decision in Griggs v. Allegheny County, 369 U. S. 84, proprietors are liable for aircraft noise damages resulting from operations from their airport.
1973 United States Supreme Court - left open what limits, if any, should be applied to the exercise of the proprietary rights of municipalities and counties that own and operate airports. It would be answered 3 years later in a California case (see National Aviation below).
Burbank v. Lockheed Air Terminal. 411 U S. 623 (1973)
1976 Aviation Noise Abatement Policy/Airport Proprietors
1978 Federal Law 49 U. S. C
Congress expressly provided that the proprietary powers and rights of municipal airport owners are not preempted by Federal law. 49 U.S.C. 41713 (section 105 of the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978). Thus, the task of protecting the local population from airport noise has fallen to the agency, usually the local government, that owns and operates the airport. (b) Preemption (3)
1990 Federal Aviation Noise Policy: Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Aviation by United States Congress,
page 212: "'The task of protecting the local population from airport noise has, accordingly, fallen to the agency usually of local government charged with operating the airport....Indeed, since the operator controls the location of the facility, acquires the property, and air air easements and is often able to assure compatible land use, he is liable for compensable takings by low flying aircraft....The right of the proprietor to limit his liability by restricting the use of his airport has been thought a corollary of this principle. It is perhaps more important, however, that the inherently local aspect of noise control can be most effectively left to the operator as the unitary local authority who controls airport access.' 558 F.2d. 83-84. Congress repeatedly has declined to
alter this cooperative scheme."
Current - United States Code of Federal Regulations
Congress expressly provided that the proprietary powers and rights of municipal airport owners are not preempted by federal law. 49 U. S. C. Section 1305 (b)
Current - Federal Aviation Administration website
The FAA will encourage airport proprietors, who are legally responsible for the effect of aircraft noise on the surrounding community, to assess their particular noise problem and, where local authorities determine that there is a significant problem, to develop an action plan to reduce the impact of the noise.
page 2, right-hand column
California Rulings Have Established that Airport Proprietors are Responsible
California Supreme Court 1985
Baker v. Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority -- Federal preemption of local regulation of airport noise is not absolute. State law damage remedies remain available against an airport proprietor despite the fact that federal law precludes interference with commercial flight patterns and schedules, since federal law preempts only the exercise of police power to reduce airport noise. Airport proprietors have a duty under state law to reduce airport noise. Plaintiffs may elect to treat airport noise as a continuing or permanent nuisance. (39 Cal.3d 862, 218 Cal.Rptr. 293, 705 P.2d 866; cert. denied 475 U.S. 1017, 106 S.Ct. 1200, 89 L.Ed.2d 314) (This opinion is discussed extensively in Renz et al. v. 33d. Dist. Agricultural Assn. (1995, 6th Dist. Ct. App.), 39 Cal.App.4th 61, 46 Cal.Rtpr.2d 67. See subsequent decision in this case, Baker v. Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, 1990, 2d Dist. Ct. App., below.)
From the above case: "Thus, despite the fact that the flights to and from the airport are privileged, defendant (Ed. note: the airport proprietors) shoulders an affirmative responsibility to minimize noise levels through the use of buffers, barriers, or other noise reducing devices."
State law damage remedies remain available against an airport proprietor despite the fact that federal law precludes interference with commercial flight patterns and schedules.
California County Superior Courts
, 1972 The appellate court (agreeing with the trial court) denied the defendant’s argument that the California statute Cal, Civ. Code section 3482 provided the airport with immunity from nuisance liability.
Nestle v. City of Santa Monica
If the state or local government is the proprietor of an airport, it can limit the noise from aircraft using that airport. This was the decision of a federal district court in 1976 when Hayward's aircraft noise abatement ordinance was challenged by a tenant of the airport. The court upheld the ordinance because Hayward owns and manages the airport (National Aviation v. City of Hayward, 418 F.Supp. 417, ND Cal., 1976). National Aviation v. City of Hayward
The Port District quoted Aaron v. City of Los Angeles, 40 Cal.App.3d 471 [115 Cal.Rptr.162]. "The Court of Appeal, commencing at page 487 of its opinion, point out that Federal preemption would not obviate the responsibility of the airport operator to compensate private property owners for any taking of their property for airport operations.. (the) position which city has been taken by the Port District in this petition."
San Diego Unified Port Dist. v. Superior Court
67 Cal.App.3d 361 (Cal. Ct. App. 1977)
"Federal preemption does not operate to wholly eliminate local responsibility for airport noise control."
"A proprietor of an airport is not immune from liability for personal injuries and emotional distress caused by noises emanating from aircraft in flight...They (airport proprietors) retain responsibility for the proper construction, operation and maintenance of ground facilities....to minimize the effects of noise."
1979 Greater Westchester Homeowners v. City of Los Angeles
603 P.2d 1329 (Cal.1979)
California Civil Codes
Civil Code Section 3479
Los Angeles homeowners sued the City of Los Angeles for injuries due to excessive noise from aircraft using the airport. The court held that a nuisance cause of action arising from aircraft noise is not preempted by federal regulation of aviation. There is no reason in law or policy why the nuisance remedy provided by Civil code s. 3479 should not apply.
Civil Code Section 3482
In contrast to what the City and County of San Francisco maintains, Civil Code 3482 does NOT apply to runway noise; it's been rejected in both appellate and the California Supreme Court. Here are two examples:
Example #1: In Nestle v. City of Santa Monica, 1972, the appellate court (agreeing with the trial court) denied the defendant’s argument that the California statute Cal, Civ. Code section 3482 provided the airport with immunity from nuisance liability.
...While the statue designates the use of the runways for aircraft, it does not expressly authorize the excessive noise levels of the aircraft on the runways.”
Example #2: Greater Westchester V. City of LA, 1979, taken from Journal of Air Law and Commerce, volume 47, issue 3, 1982, Airport Noise Litigation: Case Law Review, page 483