November 19, 2019

Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet

For immediate release

Ted Rueter
[email protected]

Mike Edison
[email protected]

Chapel Hill: Mike Edison, a resident of the Upper East Side in Manhattan, has won a “Healthy Soundscapes” award from Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet for his valiant, for his successful efforts to fight excessive noise by filing nuisance lawsuits in small claims courts. Edison has sued 12 times in small claims court—and has won every time. He has sued a real estate developer, the Rite Aid drugstore chain, and a construction company. He has threatened to sue a half-dozen other companies, including Con Edison and Starbucks.

Edison has faced extreme noise from pre-dawn jackhammers, screeching delivery trucks from 11:00 pm until 2:00 am, and rumbling from cement trucks.

In 2018, a new apartment tower was being constructed near Edison’s apartment.  While New York City restricts construction to weekdays between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm, city government often grants after-hours exceptions.  In 2014, the city granted 48,262 after-hours permits; in 2018, the number had risen to 67,604. Construction officials argue that it is often easier to make excessive noise “when there are fewer people and less traffic around.”

Unable to sleep because of all the noise, Mr. Edison implemented his plan: suing CM & Associates and Todd Cohen of Icon Realty Management, the project developer.  After filing the lawsuit, the defendant’s attorney called to settle; Edison donated half the settlement money to a local soup kitchen and nonprofit groups.

Ben Kallos, a member of the New York city council and an attorney, stated that he was pleasantly surprised that Mr. Edison has able to use small claims court to fight for a quality of life issue.

Edison has developed a form letter which he has used to threaten companies regarding excessive noise:

James Skinner
Walgreens BootsAlliance,Inc.
108 Wilmot Road
Deerfield, Illinois 60015
4/19/2019 Certified RRR 7018 1130 0000 7298 9864

Mr Skinner,

Be advised Duane Reade and McLane Trucking are negligent in their duty to follow NYC after hours-noise codes, awakening the neighborhood at 79″ St and 3” Ave in Manhattan.

On more than one occasion and specifically last night on April 17, 2019 your truck was loudly idling, loudly unloading at 11 45 PM. NYC Noise Codes specifically forbid commercial activity past 7 PM at night in residential neighborhoods such as this one.

This total lack of concern for the neighborhood you work in, your egregious flouting NYC Noise Codes, and total disregard for rights of the neighborhood is affecting not only my wife and me, but many others in this neighborhood. Our rights to the quiet enjoyment of our home (and frankly a good night’s sleep has been impinged).

Consider this constructive notice Walgreen Boot Alliance and your Duane Reade subsidiary and vendor McLane Trucking have a vicarious liability and a non-delegable duty to provide the neighborhood the quiet enjoyment of their premises. This a responsibility that is quite important to those of us in this community, and is one you cannot transfer.

You have a duty which you are breaching. If you don’t take corrective action to rein it in completely that the breach of such duty will be a proximate cause of injury (sleep deprivation for one, pain and suffering for another). Walgreens and McLane have sufficient authority and control over to bring to an end their flouting of the NYC after-hours noise codes (see Engelhart v County of Orange, 16 AD3d 369 [2005)).

With respect to your non-delegable responsibility, the NY State Court of Appeals recently ruled “a duty is non-delegable when the responsibility is so important to the community that the employer should not be permitted to transfer it to another.” (Prosser and Keeton, Torts § 71, at 512 [5th ed].)” (72 NY2d at 118-119.)

I maintain that you have breached your duty and if you must take immediate corrective action, and failing to do so, both Walgreen’s and McLane will be liable for …. Breach of Duty…you have a duty to hire competent people. Gross disregard for not only my rights, but this neighborhood’s rights to not be awakened at midnight each night. Willful disregard for the facts, and past complaints failure to hire competent people to handle your deliveries. Walgreens and McLane have a responsibility to hire competent people, provide competent and adequate oversight, and has done neither.

This is a simple matter to correct, and if this continues I will also bring suit against Walgreens and McLane (separately) for negligence. This is the last time have will be so warned. If this doesn’t stop immediately and for good, the next thing you get from me is summons to appear.

Mike Edison
cc: W. Grady Rosier, CEO McLane
Food Service Headquarters
2085 Midway Road Carrollton, Texas 75006
Certified RRR 7018 1130 72988 9901

Ted Rueter, director of Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet, stated that “Mike Edison’s approach to fighting noise is innovative and effective. I hope that increasing numbers of peace-loving citizens will consider suing noisemakers in small claims court.”

Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet is a national citizens’ organization opposed to excessive noise. Past winners of the Healthy Soundscape award include the Raleigh Little TheatrePortsmouth, New Hampshire; and Newton, Massachusetts.