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Was a Resident Able to Sue His Neighbor’s Children for Playing Basketball?

At one point or the other, a neighbor will end up doing something that would annoy you. But doing something that will ultimately devalue your property can be quite concerning. Here’s the story about two lawyers disputing over a basketball court.

A California lawyer filed a restraining order against his neighbor’s children to stop them from playing basketball in their yard. The lawyer claimed that the value of his home dropped by $100,000 because of the noise.

What Started the Whole Debacle?

Two lawyers by the name of Kenneth Schild and Michael Ruben decided to bring their dispute over a little basketball court to the courts of law. Ruben was the complainant that appealed for a permanent injunction to prevent his neighbors, the Schilds, from playing basketball on their property at specific hours of the day.

In December 1987, the Schilds installed a basketball hoop in their backyard. A standard backboard with a hoop was mounted on a metal pole situated on a semi-circular concrete space. A wall separated the space from the Rubin’s home.

In January 1988, Rubin complained about the noise created by Jonathan Schilds, his 13-year-old neighbor. Rubin explained that Jonathan’s playing disrupted the peace. As a result, he wasn’t able to take naps and relax in his own home.

Kenneth Schild poured additional concrete into the hollow pole and installed rubber foams on the backboard to ease the noise. While this did help minimize the noise, Rubin still thought it was at an unacceptable level. (Source: Case Law)

Why Did the Issue Progress to a Court Case?

Rubin claimed that the Schilds would play basketball or hardball in the space about 3 to 5 times a week. However, Bradley Smith, another neighbor who supported Rubin’s plight, stated that the area was used for about 2 to 3 weeks for a limited time only.

On March 9, 1989, Rubin complained about the noise and demanded that Jonathan Schild stop playing. Kenneth Schild advised his son to continue for another 10 minutes until dinner was ready to be served. At this point, Rubin was enranged. He sprayed water all over the area with a garden hose. While Rubin claimed that he did not intend to aim the hose at anyone, Kenneth and Jonathan Schild were wet, and Kenneth decided to press assault charges against Rubin. (Source: Case Law)

How Did the Schilds Retaliate?

The Schilds filed a complaint against Rubin on March 22, 1989. Charges for assault, battery, trespassing, nuisance, and intentional infliction of emotional distress were made. These were consolidated and were pending trial during the time.

Other neighbors started to get involved. Joseph Burton would hear deafening rock music being played by the Rubins. This was said to be directed towards the Schild’s home. Bradley Smith, who sided with the Rubins, denied ever hearing any kind of music.

On April 1, 1990, Rubin decided to spray water all over the basketball court again. The next day, the Schilds obtained a temporary restraining order against their neighbors. The court ruled against the Rubins, telling them they re not allowed direct contact or communication of any kind toward the Schilds. (Source: Case Law)

How Did It End?

Rubin wasn’t about to lose the battle. He took out a restraining order against the children of Schilds. He was preventing them to play in their yard freely. Fortunately, the court denied his motion and said that reasonable people could expect some inconveniences from neighbors. (Source: Case Law)

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