Updated March 10, 2020
How to Get Started
Following the 1981success regarding airport noise issues in small claims court (NOT OVERHEAD FLIGHTS), we are putting pressure on the airport's owners, the City and County of SF, who are liable for damage cause by ground noise.
By filing claims (repeatedly) in the San Mateo County small claims department, the City of San Francisco will ideally investigate and remediate whatever caused this dramatic change in runway noise volume that began in late 2015/early 2016.
To date the small claims court has had us appear in small groups; you will receive a helpful booklet before your appearance; you may read your testimony instead of memorizing it; you may have a friend with you; it's a lot easier and more informal than you see on TV.
There's a 3- or 4-month wait from first forms to a small claims appearance....
Please mention on the forms if you smell fuel or experience vibrations or rattling that you believe may be from the airport.
YOU ARE UNDER NO LEGAL OBLIGATION TO USE THESE FORMS. YOU MAY DOWNLOAD YOUR OWN
SAN MATEO COUNTY SMALL CLAIMS FORMS AND COMPLETE THEM AS YOU SEE FIT.
Step One - Filing with San Francisco
1) Complete this form and mail 2 copies to San Francisco along with a self-addressed
2) You'll receive back a time-stamped copy of the above form in a week or so.
3) A month or so after that, you'll receive a 2-page form letter from San Francisco.
Make 3 copies of both pages of the letter.
4) You're now eligible to file in Redwood City.
Step Two - FILING WITH REDWOOD CITY
5) Print out small claims pages 1 - 5. Complete where indicated. Make 3 copies of each page.
(I know, I KNOW!)
Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5
Next, assemble three separate small claims with your original papers in the first group.
The first pages in each claim will be small claims pages 1 - 5.
The next 2 pages will be the letter from San Francisco.
Paper clip each of the 3 claims.
Before the small claims department assigns you an appearance date, consider
that the date will likely be on a Tuesday or Wednesday, a.m. or p.m. The date will
probably fall between 3- and 7 weeks after the small claims department receives
your claims. If the past is an indicator of the future, the judge will arrange for us to
appear in small groups.
If you know there are some dates in that range than you cannot attend a hearing,
please put a post-it note on the first page of the first claim with your name and
that information. If you wish to attend with someone who's also filing the same time
you are, note that as well. No guarantees the department will be able to accommodate
your preferences, though.
The cost to mail the packet to Redwood City is $1.80. Before you mail the 9 x 10 manila
envelope packet to the Redwood City address (found on the first page of your claim),
include 2 more items:
~ a $65 check (made out to San Mateo County Superior Court) for one
person, $90 to file jointly*. Write your address on the check if it's not already
~ a self-addressed $1 stamped 9 x 10 manila envelope
IMPORTANT! When you get your processed claim returned from Redwood City, please register with these 4 things: Your name (s), address, case # as seen on the first page, and the appearance date you'll be attending.
Re-scheduling your appearance date is to be avoided if at all possible. If, however, circumstances dictate that you cannot attend the date you were assigned, you must fill out a postponement request at your earliest convenience. Please see "postponing your appearance"
under the "more" tab on this website. The required documents are obsolete, but small claims
insists on them.
Be aware that the defense may request a postponement at the last minute of your assigned date, pushing your appearance a few weeks further out.
*ADVANTAGES OF FILING JOINTLY
If you and your spouse are in agreement regarding the airport runway noise issue, you both may file one claim
for a $90 fee. Ensure both names and signatures are on all forms where indicated on the claims forms.
If only one of you will be appearing, please present this form to the judge at the time of appearance.
Authorization to Represent Your Spouse Form
YOU ARE ALLOWED TO FILL OUT TWO CLAIMS A YEAR FOR UP TO $10,000 each claim.
Please register with sforunwaynoise.com to request to be scheduled in a group appearance.