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The first step in filing a claim against the City and County of San Francisco is to fill out this form.
This first step costs almost nothing, commits you to nothing, and is easy to do. (Spouses usually file separately.)
It's a requirement of the City and County of San Francisco, the airport's owners who are legally responsible for the airport's ground noise and its effect on residents.
It will be months between the time you mail the first form to San Francisco to the time you are in small claims court.
More about Small Claims
It would be several weeks before you can begin the paperwork for Step Two. It's a bit more complicated, but we've provided samples to make it easier.
No lawyer can appear in court to berate or accuse you, like you see on TV.
The person representing the defense (the City and County of San Francisco) can not be a lawyer.
Only the judge can ask you questions during your testimony, not the kind of questions you see on TV that are intended to pin you down. The few judges we've observed so far have listened attentively and respectfully, putting no pressure on either the plaintiff or defendant. The questions asked (if any) are simple.
- speak for 30 seconds if you wish
- call the small claims department to try to get an interpreter if you feel
you need one (well in advance of your scheduled hearing)
- read your testimony out loud
- come in a carpool; sit together; have a friend or family member there for support (IF the court's covid regulations allow it)
You won't have to sit at the front of the room and face people; you'll probably sit at a long table and look only at the judge.
You can ask the judge if your friend or relative may join you at the table (IF the court's covid regulations allow it).
If you must leave early, you may ask the judge at the end of your testimony for permission to leave.
- If you'd like to be one of the earlier speakers, you can slip the bailiff a note with your name and case number on it along with a quick message that you'd like to speak early if possible.
How You Can Help Spread the Word
You can help inform people of the airport's ground noise issue via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Zoom, NextDoor, or other conduits. Please mention our website sforunwaynoise.com in your comments to friends and neighbors who are affected by the runway noise.
You can organize zoom meetings for your neighborhood. We'll try to join you if we're free.
You can put up an sforunwaynoise.com sign.
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