AIRPORT NOISE LAW


Suit Against Minneapolis Airport over Noise Insulation Seeks Class Action Status


JUNE 15, 2006
MINNEAPOLIS

The suit by a group of homeowners near Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport against the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) is seeking certification as a class action. The suit alleges that the MAC approved noise-insulation of fewer homes than it promised earlier. (See Minnesota Residents Sue for Home Insulation Against Airport Noise.)

District Court Judge Stephen C. Aldrich will hear motions and arguments June 21, 2006 concerning class action certification.

The homeowners' case dovetails with lawsuits against MAC and Northwest Airlines brought by three Minnesota cities bordering the airport: Eagan, Minneapolis, and Richfield. The cities allege that they have contracts with the MAC memorializing conditions imposed or allowed by the 1996 Minnesota law enabling expansion of the airport.

One of the conditions was extension of a sound insulation program to more than 4,000 residential units within an area around the airport that, in a 1998 projection, were expected to have noise impacts in the range of 60 to 64 decibels ("day-night level"). The 1998 projections were for the first full year after opening a new runway.

The homeowners' allege that they were the intended beneficiaries of the contracts and reasonably expected the sound insulation program to be implemented. The homeowners' suit claims damages from delay or denial of the noise mitigation by MAC.

The three cities brought their suit after the MAC several times delayed and reduced budgets for the extended sound insulation program, most recently by rejecting a $150 million "compromise" program proposed by its own Noise Oversight Committee.

For details on the suit and copies of pleadings, see the website of the plaintiffs' attorneys Zimmerman Reed.

Source: Based on a press release by the South Metro Airport Action Council.