A Fort Saskatchewan resident is suing local police and city government after what he deems years of inaction over loud pipes, says the CBC.
For 18 years, 70-year-old Richard Jones says, he’s complained about noise levels of motorcycles going past his house. Despite his petitions for police to enforce noise laws, he says they aren’t enforcing the law, and he’s unable to enjoy peace and quiet in his garden. As a result, he’s suing the RCMP and the City of Fort Saskatchewan for $850,000 in damages.
He’s also named a crown prosecutor and the Minister of Justice in his suit, but they’ve asked the court to remove them, saying the suit doesn’t apply to them.
A statement of defence from the Attorney General of Canada refutes Jones’s allegations, saying “the Statement of Claim is frivolous, irrelevant or improper, or constitutes an abuse of process.”
Justice Canada sent Jones a letter saying he will be on the hook for double the cost of the proceedings if he doesn’t drop his lawsuit within two months, the CBC article says.
Jones, meanwhile, told the CBC he wasn’t filing this suit for the money – he says he wants to address “those cretins that think they have a God-given right to make all the noise they want. And they don’t, and the law backs us up.”
If you read the CBC article, make sure to peruse the comments at the bottom. There are some real doozies, including this one:
“I think there should be automatic noise punish machines installed through our cities. When your bike or car audio is too loud (it could be measured and set the top level considered normal and not hurtful to public) you would be sprayed with something really stinking so you better remember there are also other people around who are not obliged to be bothered with your noise. Since bikers are themselves very vulnerable sitting on their bikes and idiots playing very loud music in their cars have always open windows since they themselves can not stand the noise attack from their own car-audio systems it would be probably very quick fix.”
We asked our own CMG mouthpiece about the chances of Jones winning his lawsuit. Delighted to hear us ask about something other than how to beat yet another speeding ticket, here’s what he had to say:
“There is a duty on police officers and officials to enforce laws, but they also have a wide discretion as to how and how vigorously. I don’t think there is a Charter right to quiet enjoyment of property, and the Charter only applies to government or state actors, but a failure to offer legal protection might give rise to a civil action against whoever is responsible for enforcing these particular laws.
The common law recognizes no limit to the categories of torts one can claim; if you can demonstrate a harm or loss due to someone else, you may find a court willing to award you damages. The neighboring club may be at risk of being found liable in nuisance, a recognized category of tort. I wonder why some manufacturers who market aftermarket pipes as the norm are not named, or the dealers who install non-Transport Canada approved exhausts. I think naming some of the other parties may be a stretch but I’m not convinced it will be summarily dismissed altogether.
The costs threat is a common tactic and a real one to be careful of if you are suing anyone in uncharted legal territory.”
There you have it!