Judge Says Teen Drummer's Playing Isn't a Nuisance

Scott K Fish

Silver Member
SKF NOTE: This is an interesting court case describing a situation most drummers deal with at some point in their lives. I sympathize with both sides. Another news report said this young man's drums are in a garage 15-feet from Joanne Traetto's home. But it's a drag for drummers to never have a chance to practice on real drums. And this young man sounds as if he's trying to strike a balance between his need to work/practice and his neighbor's need to work.

Judge Says Teen Drummer's Playing Isn't a Nuisance
Michael Booth, New Jersey Law Journal
November 5, 2014



A teenage drummer's occasional afternoon practice sessions in his family's garage do not rise to the level of a nuisance and he won't be ordered to stop or move his drum set somewhere else, a New Jersey judge has ruled.

Morris County Superior Court Judge Stephan Hansbury on Oct. 30 refused to grant injunctive relief to a Boonton, N.J., woman, Joanne Traetto, who complained that drumming by her next-door neighbor, Daniel Palazzo, makes it difficult for her to sleep and work.

Traetto's attorney, Joseph Murray of Schiller & Pittenger in Scotch Plains, N.J., said he does not anticipate an appeal.

Traetto is a computer analyst for a pharmaceutical company who is on call 24 hours a day, working out of her home, according to court documents. She filed her lawsuit against the Palazzos in December 2012, when Daniel was 15. He is now 17.

The lawsuit alleged that the drumming went on at all hours of the day and night and that it interrupted her ability to do her job and get some sleep.

The Palazzos, in their answer and motion to dismiss, said their son plays only from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and that the town's health administrator had determined that the sound from the drumming does not violate the town's noise ordinance.

In a response, Traetto...included a certification from another neighbor who said the drumming is "unreasonably loud" and is "so incessant and loud that the drums appear to be beaten by a maniac."

Full Story

Scott K Fish Blog: Life Beyond the Cymbals
 

shemp

Silver Member
LOL!!! Good news!

I haaaaaaaate these kind of Petty Tyrant neighbors who think they must have things "just so" for their little ecosystem....

Usually it's the older, over 60 crowd that has nothing better to do but monitor and natter about their neighbor's activities; they think the neighborhood should be cut in their vision as a retirement home.

I have one here....corrosive to the whole neighborhood; complaining about hoses left in the driveway, garbage cans out too long after pickup, parking locations....and DRUMS

two things I say to them around here:
(1) It's not your world
(2) F&*K Off (in my best Keith Moon drool)
 

ncc

Silver Member
I agree that we all go though this at some point. Not to the level of this young man going to court, but something similar.

In this case I do see the point though. If that is a picture of the young mans set up, and the neighbor works from home, I am a bit sympathetic. If that is in fact where the young man practices, I would say that the way the situation was handled was not optimal. As I am sure many of you know, playing in a garage with no wall insulation would make the room pretty loud. A few hundred dollars for some insulation may have helped and made everyone happy.
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
Holy crap!!! Is that an Acrolite?!?!?!?!?! That kid must be a GOD at the drums.

Anyway, I agree that playing in a garage with no insulation and a bare concrete floor will only amplify the drums sound. I can see why neighbors would complain about it. In any case, I am surprised that this ever went to court and wasn't settled by a mediator. Don't judges have more important cases to rule over, like oh, I don't know, murder, assault, drugs, dead beat parents, etc?

I couldn't read the entire article because it was forcing me to join LinkedIn to read the article. Did they mention what the neighbors were trying to get if they won the case? Was there some sort of cash settlement that they wanted for their "pain and suffering"?
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Des anyone have a non-scam-walled link to the article?

Using linked-in will send the APL all of your LI profile details and uses an insecure/cleartext redirect.
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
Usually it's the older, over 60 crowd that has nothing better to do but monitor and natter about their neighbor's activities; they think the neighborhood should be cut in their vision as a retirement home.
By the time you reach 60, you have become a far less selfish person, you have learned that the world doesn't revolve around you and you have developed a general respect for the people around you.

I generally side with the neighbors in these cases.

Drumming is annoying.

Who knows when they did the sound level test. If I was aware of the testing, I could certainly play quietly.

The garage is 15 feet away and it's bare construction probably amplifies the sound.

I'd get a recording of a yapping dog, or a violin playing scales, point a speaker to the drummer's house, set it to the legal limit and play it whenever I was not home. Maybe they would begin to understand my point of view.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I'd get a recording of a yapping dog, or a violin playing scales, point a speaker to the drummer's house, set it to the legal limit and play it whenever I was not home. Maybe they would begin to understand my point of view.
<sarcasm>
Your post annoys me. It reads as if it was written by a madman. It's just 2 posts away from mine and I was unable to work while reading it. I'm going to go to court to get a legal injunction preventing you from posting any more even though I know it doesn't violate the forum rules.
</sarcasm>

I guess the point is that life is a binary choice between joy/love and fear/hate.
 

shemp

Silver Member
You should come and counsel our HOA over here...because they are the most narcissistic, self-focused, petty and "the world revolves around me" types I have ever encountered...all over 60...I'm 51

It is most definitely the over 60 crowd, the ones that want their neighborhood to resemble a retirement facility, but are too vein to admit they need to live in one....instead they try to legislate children from playing in the street, where to put hoses, what time to take out the garbage...etc.

Nonsense.

If a kid wants to play drums during the day...then he should not be inhibited. He can live 15 feet from me and I will help him achieve his goal and never complain about noise.

Noise during the day is part of life.....deal with it or move to the country. We all can't have our little worlds just so. Neighbors make noise...kids make noise...as long as it is before when 95% of the typical human race settles down for the night...or even before 7 or 8pm, then let it go.

...and by the way, I do and am working at home in my home office right now....there is plenty of noise outside; garbage trucks today, the dog that barks at ants from 40 paces all day next to me, kids skateboarding...it's the noise of life.

By the time you reach 60, you have become a far less selfish person, you have learned that the world doesn't revolve around you and you have developed a general respect for the people around you.

I generally side with the neighbors in these cases.

Drumming is annoying.

Who knows when they did the sound level test. If I was aware of the testing, I could certainly play quietly.

The garage is 15 feet away and it's bare construction probably amplifies the sound.

I'd get a recording of a yapping dog, or a violin playing scales, point a speaker to the drummer's house, set it to the legal limit and play it whenever I was not home. Maybe they would begin to understand my point of view.
 

mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
If the kid just played a Mapex Saturn, this wouldn't even be an issue. There's got to be a spare set of Saturn's around somewhere!
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
You should come and counsel our HOA over here...because they are the most narcissistic, self-focused, petty and "the world revolves around me" types I have ever encountered...all over 60....
You can't judge an age group by using your HOA as a standard. HOA's suck. If you don't want to deal with them you shouldn't have moved into a community governed by an HOA.

Kids playing is a joyful sound. A garbage truck comes by once/twice a week for 20 seconds. Some kid banging on his drums from 4 to 7 is annoying.

I wouldn't subject my neighbors to noise simply because I respect their right to a peaceful existence. And, after a few minutes, practicing drums is just noise. Even if was a skilled drummer, normal people would tire of it quickly.


Now get off my lawn!
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
I wonder if this was such an issue because it was drumming and not just some other noise.

For example, what if your neighbor was a carpenter and ran power tools all day long? Is that acceptable noise? Its not drumming, but at the same time it can be equally as loud and annoying.

There are laws limiting the hours of construction work, and obviously noise limitations, but if the neighbor ran their tools all day within the acceptable hours and noise levels that the law allows, who is to tell this person that they need to be quiet?

Its certainly neighborly to be respectful of the noise you make, or the color you paint your house, or how well you keep your yard, but for one neighbor to take another neighbor to court over something as silly as a kid playing drums is way over the top.

What I don't understand is how this ever ended up in front of a judge. Perhaps the parents of the drummer kid are just asshole people and told the neighbor who told them to keep the noise down to pump off. If that's the case, I can see there needing to be police brought out to the house for a noise complaint. If the noise complaints keep going on and the neighbor doesn't listen, I would imagine tickets are written. After enough tickets are written , I suppose there would be some sort of subpoena to get this in front of a community judge to get the person to stop. But honestly, how dense are some people that after being written tickets for noise violations they still proceed to make all the noise?
 

shemp

Silver Member
You can't judge an age group by using your HOA as a standard. HOA's suck. If you don't want to deal with them you shouldn't have moved into a community governed by an HOA.

Kids playing is a joyful sound. A garbage truck comes by once/twice a week for 20 seconds. Some kid banging on his drums from 4 to 7 is annoying.

I wouldn't subject my neighbors to noise simply because I respect their right to a peaceful existence. And, after a few minutes, practicing drums is just noise. Even if was a skilled drummer, normal people would tire of it quickly.


Now get off my lawn!
LOL...[redacted] I shall continue to maintain that drumming during the day is acceptable, not a threat to neighborhood peace and only pissed on buy the nattering nellies of this world.

Remember we are not talking about 16 waking hours of drumming....a few hours during the day should not be challenged by anyone who understands that as they have a small right to peace, others have a small right to live and make noise....that's why the ordnances are there and that's why this judge did not find for the plaintiff.

My HOA was perfectly fine for 15 years and is again perfectly fine as we got rid of the +60 retirement crowd...fired, repealed. They legislated against children playing in the street...and riding a bicycle down the street...these are the kinds that complain about a few hours of drumming in a neighborhood....nobody else gives a rats ass.

[nasty and unnecessary commentary redacted as part of the gentler shemp ordinance of 2014]
 
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KamaK

Platinum Member
I wonder if this was such an issue because it was drumming and not just some other noise.
In a civil matter, anyone can sue anyone from anything. In the case of a carpenter, NJ is very "you need a permit" heavy when it comes to commercial work in residential areas, so I can see that happening under the guise of a zoning violation. I'm willing to bet that working from home might be some kind of violation in NJ at this point.

My grandmother moved to Vermont when a building inspector ding'ed her for replacing some of her own water-stained ceiling tiles without a permit (because it's a "new" ceiling). She had a permit to repair the roof, hired union employees for the job, and they ratted her out.
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
In a civil matter, anyone can sue anyone from anything. In the case of a carpenter, NJ is very "you need a permit" heavy when it comes to commercial work in residential areas, so I can see that happening under the guise of a zoning violation. I'm willing to bet that working from home might be some kind of violation in NJ at this point.

My grandmother moved to Vermont when a building inspector ding'ed her for replacing some of her own water-stained ceiling tiles without a permit (because it's a "new" ceiling). She had a permit to repair the roof, hired union employees for the job, and they ratted her out.
Dude, I'm a residential architect on the north shore of Chicago. You don't have to tell me about stupid permits. ;) But if someone just has a love for woodworking and wants to build their own chairs or a table as a hobby, there are no permit requirements for this in any town across the country. Noise ordinances are different from community to community, but as shemp says, people have a right to be able to make noise, just as others have the right to peace and quiet. That's why ordinances are created.

Again, I wonder if this is only a "case" because it was drumming and not some other noise. Again, the parents of the kid drummer may be complete assholes and ignored the cops and the tickets they received long enough to get taken to court. In any case, I agree with what the Judge says, but as a nice neighborly thing I would either move the kid's drums to the basement of the home or provide some sort of soundproofing/insulation to that garage so it takes the noise down a notch. That's just common decency even if the law is on your side.
 

Red Menace

Platinum Member
By the time you reach 60, you have become a far less selfish person, you have learned that the world doesn't revolve around you and you have developed a general respect for the people around you.
I think anyone who works around the elderly can confirm that it not the case for everyone. Some folks are nice people and some aren't. 60+ years of being around isn't going to mellow everyone out. Whenever I feel upset with my job I just remember that I don't work at the grocery store anymore, old folks are the worst when it comes to their groceries.

On a lighter note, I am fortunate enough to live in an area where people don't complain about my drumming. I only play o my kit a little bit during the day though.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
If I was over 60 and something totally reasonable like drumming during the day annoyed me a bit, I'd just quit being a baby and get some earplugs, or turn on my own music, or take a fucking walk like an adult rather than go tell mom and try to get someone in trouble who hasn't actually done anything to hurt me.

Idiots who think they have some right to not be annoyed by all the people and objects living around them are totally insufferable. They just want to be a pain in the ass and stop others from doing what makes them happy, usually because they are also un-happy for unrelated reasons.

I hear my neighbors doing all kinds of things all the time, and I can chill out because I no longer have the temper of a 5 year old.
 

Starship Krupa

Senior Member
I'd get a recording of a yapping dog, or a violin playing scales, point a speaker to the drummer's house, set it to the legal limit and play it whenever I was not home. Maybe they would begin to understand my point of view.
In other words, you'd start a noise war against a teenager with a drumset.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
In other words, you'd start a noise war against a teenager with a drumset.
In fairness, the username you're responding to should give an indication to the mind-set in play here. Someone incidentally and without trying to annoys him, and the first instinct is to annoy others in some weird sense of retribution for the minor slight.
 
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