Question: We live in Paradise Valley which has a strict noise ordinance, e.g., noise level is limited to no more than 45 decibels after 10:00 p.m. A home near us is in Phoenix, which apparently has no specific noise level. This Phoenix homeowner has turned his home into a short-term rental “party house.” There are loud parties almost every night. We have called the Phoenix police who do nothing except tell the “party house” people to lower the noise level. We now can’t sit peacefully in our backyard by the pool in the evening. Our son is a lawyer in Chicago and he says that he will help us file a “nuisance” lawsuit against the Phoenix homeowner to get a court injunction to stop the loud parties. Would the Paradise Valley 45 decibel noise level apply in our “nuisance” lawsuit?

Answer: Probably. If there is a conflict in the noise levels between different jurisdictions, the standard for the violation of a noise level is generally the site of the injury caused by the noise, not the site of the location of the noise. In other words, the more restrictive Paradise Valley noise level of 45 decibels after 10:00 p.m. should apply in any “nuisance” lawsuit.

Note: In a recent United States Supreme Court case, a Border Patrol agent in the United States fired a shot across the border into Mexico, killing a Mexican boy throwing rocks at the Border Patrol agent. The United States Supreme Court ruled that Mexico had jurisdiction, not the United States, because the injury occurred in Mexico. Hernandez v. Mesa, 140 S. Ct. 735.

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