TIMELINE OF SFORUNWAYNOISE.COM
Coinciding with a major airport runway project that began in 2015, unusually loud jet noise indicated the disturbance would not be temporary.
Many attempts to get a reasonable explanation of the increased noise from airport officials were futile; many public complaints were filed via SFO's online forms, emails, & phone calls with no apparent results.
sforunwaynoise.comwebsite was created
Meetings with community & airport officials were not productive
Anonymous (and credible) post on local chat room described the runway layout that changed, followed by an increase in jet noise, with a way to possibly mitigate.
Making no headway with airport officials, we felt a group tactic of repeatedly winning claims in small claims court could exert enough financial pressure on the airport's owners (the City and County of San Francisco) who are legally responsible for airport noise (not overhead flight noise) to "mitigate and remediate" the source of the runway noise.
Response from online chat rooms indicated people preferred to file claims in groups rather than individually.
Meetings were well-attended; claim forms were filled out
Our attorney asked the airport to provide pertinent papers regarding the runway work and how it's affected the noise levels. Airport emailed back 118,000 pages of documents.
We submitted 51 claims in the San Mateo County small claims court; after appearance delays by the defense (the City and County of San Francisco), the judge rendered her verdict almost 7 months after the submission. She ruled that the noise is an unacceptable and disturbing issue.
Abiding by a federal statute the defense had submitted (which mandated people who'd filed runway noise claims had to have lived in their homes before 1980), the judge ruled in favor of one-fourth of our group who "qualified". ABIDING BY FEDERAL REGULATIONS IN SMALL CLAIMS COURT IS NOT ALLOWED.
A significant number of people, erroneously led to believe the federal statute was appropriately used in small claims court, declined to continue.
January - A Superior Court appeals judge ruled in favor of the Round One homeowners (who'd owned homes before 1980) and against the defense. She clearly recognized the noise is harmful and an "ongoing private nuisance".
The pandemic began in our area in March.
Significant and extensive research over the last several months regarding the federal statute revealed that, without question, it can not be utilized in small claims court*. We will again file, ensuring each plaintiff has the option of giving the judge the written evidence that the statute cannot be used.
mid-October - appearance schedules mailed to the few claimants who were determined to get involved in Round Three
Initially scheduled for October 2020, our appearance was postponed to November 2020, then to January 2021, then to July, 2021, then to April, 2022, due to lack of staffing.
We wrote the San Mateo County Court to express our concern that not only was the federal statute incorrectly tolerated in small claims court, it was wrongly used as a basis for the court rulings. In accordance with CCP section 116.75, a judge may correct even judicial errors.
The letter was not acknowledged.
The defense wrote the 7 claimants who are scheduled for April 2022, in an apparent attempt to persuade them to not go forward with their claim. I believe no one responded to the letter.
We are scheduled to be heard in April, 2022, 19 months after we first filed for Round Three.