Owner of Super Loud BMW Sued by Neighbors for Disturbing Their PeaceAnd our lawyer-friend thinks they may have a case, with thousands in damages on the line.See all 1 photosAaron GoldAuthorMay 20, 2021
We’ve all been annoyed by idiotic or disruptive drivers in our neighborhoods, and now a couple of homeowners are taking a novel approach: According to TireMeetsRoad.com, they’re suing their irritating BMW-driving neighbor for $15,000. Their claim: Loss of «quiet enjoyment.»
The car in question is a way-lowered BMW owned by a gentleman named Bryan Hillman. Besides what appears to be about 70 degrees of negative camber, the BMW apparently has a very loud exhaust, and Hillman is—or at least was—quite fond of drifting in circles in his neighbors’ cul-de-sac in Carlsbad, California, a suburb of San Diego. (Since the lawsuit was filed, Hillman has wisely removed videos of his driving from his Twitter and Instagram accounts.)
The law in question is a California civil code that protects a tenant’s right to «quiet possession» of their property, a point of law often referred to as the covenant of quiet enjoyment. (There is another California law that targets loud exhausts specifically, but applies in other cases—and must be caught by an officer.)
We’re guessing that the cops have been unable to catch Bryan and his Bimmer in the act, so two of his neighbors have filed a lawsuit. One neighbor’s complaint says that Hillman «has breached the covenant of quiet enjoyment of our home for over 5 years through his vehicles’ loud modified mufflers and reckless driving,» and is suing for $2,000 per year, for a total of $10,000. The other neighbor cites Hillman’s «wreckless» [sic] driving and is suing for $5,000 (presumably that amount would be higher had Hillman’s driving not been free of wrecks).
We happen to know just a wee tiny little bit about quiet enjoyment, and thought it was something that landlords are required to provide and protect for California rental tenants. We called our friend Jonathan Michaels at MLG Attorneys at Law, a firm that specializes in automotive-related cases, and his opinion was that Hillman’s neighbors may well be on the road to (financial) recovery, if not correct spelling.
«Central to the case is the question, ‘Was the nuisance a substantial interference?'» Michaels tells us. «Key factors include the noise levels, duration of the nuisance, and the remediation efforts employed by both parties.
«First, the noise levels as recorded by the Plaintiff’s sound clips and video may satisfy the documentary evidential test for ‘substantial interference’. Second, five years is of sufficient duration to establish demonstrative evidence of the Defendant’s pattern of abuse. Third, and most importantly, if the neighbors can provide the court with numerous calls to the police and other evidence of remediation efforts, and the Defendant cannot refute or support counterclaims, we believe they may have a legitimate case.»
Michaels called this a «cautionary tale», and we agree with his classification. It goes without saying that one shouldn’t be a total idiot with your too-loud, too-low car, but if you’re going to be an idiot, don’t do it in the same place and definitely don’t do it in your own neighborhood.
Also, you might not want to promote stickers that say the long-form version of «F Susan» (the name of the spouse of one of the neighbors suing you) on your Twitter account. We’re just sayin’.
We’ll do our best to keep an eye on this lawsuit and see what conclusion is reached between Mr. Hillman and his hapless non-quiet-enjoying neighbors.