Ontario: “Neighbor wants $25,000 for compensation over noise of boy playing basketball in his driveway”

by Walter Olson on November 2, 2012

Canada: “A woman in Peterborough, ON is demanding $25,000 in compensation from her neighbour because her teenage son is playing basketball too loudly in his driveway. … [Her] lawyers said in a letter she is a professional writer who requires peace and quiet to earn her living and there’s a growing body of evidence that suggests environmental noise is linked to cardiovascular disease.” She has unsuccessfully sought to involve police, fire, and even the province’s environmental commissioner against the playing. [Sun]

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Environment roundup - Overlawyered
11.30.12 at 12:30 am

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1 Mike 11.02.12 at 9:25 am

I will take a guess that the boy is not playing basketball alone, that the activity is not limited to 9-5PM, and that he and his fellow players use some foul language from time to time, at high volume. Perhaps a few tunes on the blaster, just to get a mood going.A further guess that the complainant and the boy’s parents don’t like each other.
Still, it is a shame that the parties can’t work this out like adults. I hope that she does not file suit. The court system should never be used for this kind of silliness.

2 Jack Spratt 11.02.12 at 10:16 am

There can be NO doubt the pounding of a basketball is as intrusive as a barking dog or the noisy muffler on the vehicle of the paper guy at 4am. Basketballs belong at parks and gymnasiums, not 25 feet from a neighbors window. Then you have the residents who somehow feel entitled to place their portable basketball rims on the roadway of a Cul-de-sac or public property.

Never set your expectations levels too high for the average neighbor. I’ve taken one to court (she paid the claim rather than show up and be humiliated) for piling her yard dirt and mulch against our fence. Another neighbor had to be threatened with a $50 fine. He mistakenly thought the common areas of the community were for his 60 pound dog to “squat and drop” on a daily basis. He no longer does so after posting the city ordinance which imposes a $50 fine for each pile.

It would be accurate to assert that less than 50 percent of residents in any community could be categorized as the ideal neighbor, since many individuals are inclined to ignore common sense guidelines. This type of person is inclined to rate a “good neighbor” as those who ignore offensive behavior such as; barking dogs, defecating dogs, ignoring fireworks laws, ignoring community speed limits, ignoring HOA regulations, ignoring property rights, etc .

3 Don 11.02.12 at 10:28 am

Apparently, she complained that she was afraid the basketball might break her window, so the homeowner built a movable wall to protect her window while they were playing.

Now part of her lawsuit is that when they move the wall to protect her window, it blocks her sunlight.

Yeah, I would have to say that the parents of the boy are probably pretty fed up with her too.

4 Jim 11.02.12 at 12:29 pm

I find for the plaintiff, and award $5.00 for a set of ear plugs.

5 doug 11.02.12 at 1:55 pm

its nice to see there are some loons in Canada.

6 Anonymous Nicholas 11.02.12 at 2:45 pm

Hmmm. I can’t agree with Jack. I think basketball noises are perfectly normal, typical, reasonable sounds to be found in a residential area; and I think the use of streets for basketball or other sports in the lazy ends of neighborhoods is also normal, typical, and reasonable. Dirt against a fence? Depends on the dirt, the fence, and maybe some other things. Dog poop? Depends on a lot of things, but usually needs to be picked up.

For me the question rests of the reasonableness of the expectation of silence in a residential neighborhood — and I don’t think it’s reasonable. Neighborhoods are filled with certain noises, and basketballs bouncing is one of them. If this author wants silence, she should move into the woods, or move her desk away from the window.

Still, all this lawsuit shows is that you can file for any reason. Call me back when she wins, then we might have something to complain about.

7 mojo 11.02.12 at 4:52 pm

Headphones.

Moron.

8 Robert 11.02.12 at 5:28 pm

Among the books this woman has written are

What It Means To Be Open-Minded

and

What It Means To Be Respectful

Maybe she should write “What It Means To Be a Good Neighbor!”

9 lawinsider 11.02.12 at 5:32 pm

So first it was about the risk of the window breaking. Then it was about the noise. Why wasn’t it about the noise the first time around? Sounds like a neighbor with a little too much free time.
#BasketballIsNotaCrime

10 D 11.02.12 at 6:42 pm

Many years ago I saw a report about a woman in California who had a law degree and , gasp, used it to terrorize her neighborhood. Eventually, the father of a boy who played basketball in their driveway fought through all the court costs (wow). The end result after the years of battle was that she was declared a vexatious litigant.

Jack, the judge in that case was not sympathetic to your point of view.

Mike, some folks have a surprisingly thin skin, are highly intolerant, and are simply self-centered.

11 No Name Guy 11.03.12 at 2:19 pm

Jack

Don’t forget those pesky children as well – you know, the 6 to 8 year old girls screaming, well, like little girls, as they play tag, run around and generally do what kids do. And oh my goodness, don’t even get me started about how awful it is when the 10 year old boys are doing their darned skateboards out in the street / cul-de-sac. I mean, all that clattering and clacking as they try to learn to do the jumpy thing where the board flips around, and the little ramps they jump – you know, a piece of plywood and a hunk of 4×4. What an awful racket. And those darn boys, at it again – pop, pop, thunk, pop and they throw the baseball back and forth, leather ball on leather mitt, each trying to out do their buddy on how hard they can throw, and how tough they are for taking their buddies hardest throw. Yup – what awful neighbors, letting their kids play outside like I did when I was that age. Heck, if they don’t lock their kids inside, in front of the Wii I’ll just sue their @$$es off.

12 aaaa 11.03.12 at 3:55 pm

@Jack Spratt We already have too sedentary children and obesity epidemic. I’m sure that pushing all activity out of living areas into special (and distant) places will help.

13 Melvin H. 11.03.12 at 3:59 pm

If she lived in the U.S. she could sue under the ADA.

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