July 23, 2021 ~
In 2 separate small claims cases (in 2018 and 2019), the defense wielded a deleterious federal statute* against our group. We plaintiffs had no way of knowing at the time that federal statutes cannot be used in small claims court. The judge complied with the federal law both times, denying compensation to the majority of us plaintiffs who hadn't bought our home before 1980. Who were we to question the City and County of San Francisco's knowledge of airport law? And the judge's?
After extensive research into small claims and federal laws proved the defense's use of a federal rule was wrong, we filed a third round in September, 2020, against the City and County of San Francisco (CCSF) regarding the intolerable airport noises.
The small claims court scheduled us to appear in October, 2020.....then postponed us to November, 2020...........January 2021......July 2021.....and recently, we were postponed to April 2022. The San Mateo County Superior Court, overwhelmed with cases, is very much understaffed during these unpredictable and extraordinary times.
*Very simply put, the statute says people can't file a claim against the airport unless they'd bought their home before 1980. When lawyers were later questioned about the validity of using a federal statute in small claims court, they said federal statutes always trump local laws. And they'd be correct most of the time. Local airport noise, however, is an exception, by a decree of the Federal Aviation Administration that can be found here.