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  1. #1
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    Apr 2019
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    Default Harrassment by Neighbor Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

    My question involves civil rights in the State of: California

    Hi forum, I'm probably wasting time with this, however I do have some video evidence on several different dates of my neighbor playing their TV loudly at 3-4AM which woke me up.
    I appreciate your time in reading this below and your feedback as to whether it is all a waste of time. I have read that in California, an intentional infliction of emotional distress does not necessarily have to involve an injury also I was hurt emotionally and psychologically.

    I have been renting at the apartments located at xxx Harbor Blvd. Costa Mesa, CA since October 2016. I play classical piano, and I have won numerous accolades and prizes over the years. I have a 5’ 10” grand piano in my upstairs apartment. Directly below me on the first floor is a lady who lives with her high school age kid and senior father who sleeps in the bedroom directly below me. The father is a senior citizen and stays in his room most of the time. The mother and son live in the living room. They should have a larger apartment and I really don’t understand why they live in such a cramped space with their dog.

    For over 2 years I lived and worked from the apartment, and I only left the apartment to take work for short assignments in the field of accounting. Most of the time, I worked my business as a self-employed mortgage broker from the apartment. I had a difficult time in making ends meet as a mortgage broker after September, 2018 so I decided to go out and work in the field last October, 2018. I have been in the mortgage field since 2002.

    The people downstairs have constantly demonstrated their dislike of my classical music. He and his mother did this repeatedly ever since I moved in to try to bully me out of my apartment. Their behavior towards me as their upstairs neighbor has always been utterly reprehensible, and it has caused me a lot of emotional pain and anguish as well as lack of sleep on many occasions. I never speak with them, and I always try to avoid them going to my car. On occasion, the mother smokes pot and I have to close my door to keep out the fumes.
    I have a right to have a piano in my apartment and practice the instrument at reasonable hours. Since I moved into the apartment, I have always stopped my practice at 9pm, and I don’t play before 10am. Regardless of playing at reasonable hours, I was constantly harassed by the kid downstairs from the time I moved in (Oct,2016) to October,2018. Somehow, he seems to think that he does not have to treat the neighbor in any type of civilized manner. He has absolutely no respect for the years and years I have spent dedicated to my art. The idea of practicing and spending time with a musical instrument is completely foreign to him. He has never had music in his life, and his sole exposure in life has been in sports akin to his mother.

    The have harassed me throughout my piano practice time on almost a nightly basis. He blasted his radio very loudly while I was playing to demonstrate his contempt of my music and bounced his basketball in protest many times. There would be repeated pounding on the walls after I stop playing for a few seconds. There was also constant slamming of their front slider door and their dog constantly barked. He tormented the dog and knew how to provoke the dog to make it bark while I was practicing. This went on for months. Additionally, there was often loud shouting matches between the mother and son at very early hours in the morning after 1AM. Additionally, the neighbor who lived on the other side of the wall from me on the 2nd floor also showed their dislike of my piano by throwing objects onto their hardwood floor which created a loud thud sounding immediately after I came to a break in my playing. They also move their furniture around when I start to play. They currently do this in 2019.

    The downstairs music blasting and wall pounding when I practiced was insulting and demeaning to me. Classical music is my life and I have a degree from Cal Arts in music and I also studied at the Royal college of music in London. Their actions to harass me were severe and done intentionally. Their actions caused me to be sad and depressed. I cannot change the fact that I’m one of the finest pianists in Southern California or my taste in music. I called the police out to my apartment on numerous occasions between the hours of 1AM and 4AM because they constantly blasted their television after midnight. I have documented some of this on video and the videos are available online for viewing at http://www.scotcking.com/bfpm. Unfortunately, I was unable to video tape the exact moment when the pounding on the walls occurred. This would have required an expensive surveillance system which I could not afford. I did purchase a surveillance system but it recorded only motion detection.

    The bedroom door slamming went on for almost 2 years. She slammed the door each morning to wake me up at 6:30 -7am when she had to go to work. She didn’t like it that I was there all the time and that I was self-employed.

    Only since last October when I took a full-time job working in a CPA firm did the door slamming stop. This is obviously because I was now out doing what she was doing and not working from my apartment any more. She was obviously jealous of this and wanted to take this out on me by slamming the bedroom door each morning.
    I had the police respond to my apartment on at least 6 separate occasions. They would do absolutely nothing about it aside from having a chat with them to turn down their TV. I explained that they woke me up at night from their pounding on the wall. This caused me to lose a lot of sleep and have very poor days and lack of concentration at work. One night out of frustration I pounded back on wall at them and punched a hole in the drywall. I have repaired the drywall. See attached photo of wall above my bed. After waking me, I found it hard to go back to sleep, and thus sleep being deprived, many days were very hard to get through.

    I informed the management here of this problem and they did not do anything to correct the behavior of the people directly below me or of the people next door to my apartment on the 2nd floor. Any conversation they may have had with them did nothing to stop their behavior towards me. I asked them to relocate me to another apartment and they did not do this either. They manage some stand alone apartments but none were available. They manage many units but they would not allow me to take one without signing another lease which I’m not willing to do. I originally signed a 3 month lease here and I have been month to month ever since that expired.

    Because the intentional infliction of emotional distress directed at me was constant and over a long period of time, because it was severe and caused me significant emotional suffering and pain, and the fact that the owners of this apartment complex and managers did nothing to control the behavior of the downstairs neighbor in regards to my music or the people next door do me, I wish to leave my apartment now. They recently put a notice on my door stating they were going to raise my rent by $150 to $1595/month. This was done in retaliation because they were informed by me that I disputed the late charges on my bill. Presently I pay $1500 plus utilities. I ask the court for damages against the Beachfront Property management company for $100,000 for my pain and suffering. I asked them many times for their help and they just told me to call the police for help when I had a problem. The police as I stated before did nothing.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Default Re: Harrassment by Neighbor Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

    Quote Quoting sking7
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    My question involves civil rights in the State of: California

    Hi forum, I'm probably wasting time with this, however I do have some video evidence on several different dates of my neighbor playing their TV loudly at 3-4AM which woke me up...I ask the court for damages against the Beachfront Property management company for $100,000 for my pain and suffering. I asked them many times for their help and they just told me to call the police for help when I had a problem. The police as I stated before did nothing.
    A couple of observations. First, if they can hear your piano loudly enough to bother them that suggests either the walls between the apartments in your place are not soundproofed very well or that you play rather loudly. Either way, though, if the sound is loud and annoying to them I can't fault them for being upset at that. That does not justify, of course, blasting a TV in the middle of the night to wake you up or the pounding on the walls. But it does sound like you each have some complaints about the other and it's too bad you all can't simply meet and work it out.

    Second, intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) claims in most states are very difficult to win. And that is by design because the legislatures and courts do not want to open the doors to people suing over any annoying behavior of others. The courts would be flooded with complaints and the courts would in effect be setting mandatory etiquette rules for society. That kind of regulation would go against our principles of freedom. So the bar for IIED claims tends to be pretty high. It is not generally enough that the actions of others be annoying, stressful, or upsetting. In California, the state Supreme Court sets out three elements that must be met for an IIED claim. There must be:

    (1) extreme and outrageous conduct by the defendant with the intention of causing, or reckless disregard of the probability of causing, emotional distress;
    (2) the plaintiff's suffered severe or extreme emotional distress; and
    (3) actual and proximate causation of the emotional distress by the defendant's outrageous conduct.
    Hughes v. Pair, 46 Cal. 4th 1035, 1050–51, 209 P.3d 963, 976 (2009).

    As to what amounts to "extreme and outrageous conduct", the court said that it must be so “extreme as to exceed all bounds of that usually tolerated in a civilized community.” Id. Furthermore, the defendant's conduct must be “intended to inflict injury or engaged in with the realization that injury will result.” Id. Finally, the court noted that IIED "does not extend to mere insults, indignities, threats, annoyances, petty oppressions, or other trivialities." Id.

    Simply going by what you described, the actions of the neighbors were certainly annoying and upsetting. But playing loud music or making other loud sounds that annoy neighbors is hardly unusual. IMO it doesn't come close though to being so “extreme as to exceed all bounds of that usually tolerated in a civilized community.” You'd want to run all the details past a personal injury lawyer though as I don't have all the facts as to what occurred here.

    But even if IIED doesn't fit, there might be other actions available to you. You might have a claim against the landlord for violating the covenant of quiet enjoyment (the term is a bit confusing since it encompasses something different than guaranteeing you quiet, but it can be used for sound problems in some states) for the landlord's failure to remedy the sound problem. Just be aware that this might come back to bite you too over complaints about the piano playing. You might also have a claim directly against the neighbor for nuisance. Again, these are things to discuss with a personal injury lawyer in your state. Most personal injury lawyers will give you a free initial consultation so you have little to lose but some time to talk to one or two and get advice on whether you have something worth pursuing.

    You didn't mention how you came up with $100,000 in damages. Most damages are compensatory damages, meaning they compensate for some harm done to you. There are rules on what gets included in computing those damages. You don't get to just pick some number out of the air.

  3. #3
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    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Harrassment by Neighbor Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

    Quote Quoting sking7
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    I wish to leave my apartment now.
    Good. The rent increase gives you an opportunity to go find yourself a house to rent so your piano playing doesn't bother anybody else.

    You're the bad guy here. Your right to play the piano stops at the wall. I love classical music. Chopin and Bach are among my favorites. But if I had to listen to them from 10 AM to 9 PM I'd freakin' shoot you and no jury would convict me. (That's a joke.)

    Seriously, though, I can't blame your neighbors for giving tit for tat.

    You need to wake up to your own culpability and quit disturbing your neighbors. Find someplace else to live.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    Default Re: Harrassment by Neighbor Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

    Quote Quoting sking7
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    I have been renting at the apartments located at xxx Harbor Blvd. Costa Mesa, CA since October 2016. I play classical piano, and I have won numerous accolades and prizes over the years. I have a 5’ 10” grand piano in my upstairs apartment.
    I don't need to read any further than this. It doesn't matter one iota how well you play or what style of music you play, and your neighbor's reaction has nothing to do with their taste in music. Having a f**ing grand piano in an apartment is beyond absurd. For that matter, having a cheap upright piano in an apartment is absurd. If you want to play piano in an apartment, buy something like this and use headphones. That you haven't been evicted yourself is astounding.

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    You're the bad guy here. Your right to play the piano stops at the wall. I love classical music. Chopin and Bach are among my favorites. But if I had to listen to them from 10 AM to 9 PM I'd freakin' shoot you and no jury would convict me. (That's a joke.)
    It may be a joke, but since the OP lives about 15 minutes from where I work, I'll be happy to defend you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    174

    Default Re: Harrassment by Neighbor Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

    Quote Quoting pg1067
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    Having a f**ing grand piano in an apartment is beyond absurd. For that matter, having a cheap upright piano in an apartment is absurd. If you want to play piano in an apartment, buy something like this and use headphones. That you haven't been evicted yourself is astounding.
    He has a medium grand at 5'10". It is not all that rare to have those or baby grands in apartments.

  6. #6
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    Oct 2014
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    Default Re: Harrassment by Neighbor Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

    Quote Quoting Guybrush
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    He has a medium grand at 5'10". It is not all that rare to have those or baby grands in apartments.
    Perhaps not rare (depending on how you define that) but I think not very common. I've been in a lot of apartments and so far not a single one of them has had any kind of grand piano in them. In any event, regardless of size, if he's playing that piano a lot and it's loud enough for the neighbors to hear that's a problem. Just as he doesn't like being disturbed by their noise he should not be surprised that they wouldn't like his noise, either. It doesn't matter what kind of music it is that he plays. Playing classical doesn't somehow make it ok. I like classical music myself but I'd be unhappy to have to listen to a neighbor playing that often. Of course his loud piano playing does not excuse what his neighbors are doing either.

    People that like loud sound, whether it be music, TV, movies, or whatever, need to find places to live where their loud activities won't end up aggravating those around them. Their neighbors will be happier, and in turn they'll be happier too.

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