Uptown Couple, Sick of the Loud Music, Takes Their Neighbors From Hell to Court

Categories: Legal Battles

WorthingtonStreetCondos.jpg
The Tilleys' townhome is the middle left. Garcia's is the middle right.
For all its walkability and easy access to food and drink, the type of dense, urban living embodied by Uptown does have its drawbacks. Price is one. The three-bedroom townhomes that line Worthington Street are valued on the tax rolls at upward of a half million dollars. Another minus: Loud neighbors are basically impossible to ignore.

Take the gentlemen who rented the property next door to Justin and Laura Tilley last year. Previously, the Tilleys had enjoyed the Worthington Street townhome they'd bought in 2010. The music changed all that.

The music was constant, they say, and it was loud. Loud enough that they had to yell to be heard over the pulsing bass. Loud enough to shake the walls and jolt picture frames askew. Loud enough that they didn't have a solid night's sleep in months. More than once, they called in sick because they were too sleep-deprived to work.

The Tilleys had hoped that a neighborly chat with the tenants -- a man they identify as Chris Garcia and a couple of others whose names they never learned -- would resolve their problem. When it didn't, they turned to the landlord, Mark Doom, with whom they had gotten along with quite well as neighbors, back before he moved out and leased the house. When that failed, they started calling the cops -- at least 14 times by their count. When that, too, yielded no relief, they sued, naming both the tenants and Doom as defendants.

Basically, the Tilleys are asking the court to permanently ban their neighbors from playing loud music, or else force Doom to evict them, and declare them a "private nuisance," which would entitle the Tilleys to damages for causing pain and suffering and interfering with their enjoyment of their property.

Aside from the mere fact that a noise dispute between neighbors has escalated into a heavily lawyered court battle, the interesting thing about the suit is the level of Garcia's alleged assholery. Here's an excerpt from the lawsuit detailing the Tilley's mostly unsuccessful attempts to have their neighbors turn their music down:

On January 18, 2014 (3:02 am), Plaintiffs texted Mr. Garcia "Please turn off the base." Mr. Garcia responded "Ok I'm so sorry." On January 30, 2014 (8:11 pm), Plaintiffs texted Mr. Garcia "Please turn off the bass." No response from Mr. Garcia. On March 29, 2014 (9:43 pm), Plaintiffs texted Mr. Garcia "Can you please turn down the bass." No response from Mr. Garcia. On April 10, 2014 (7:00 PM) Plaintiffs' texted Mr. Garcia, "Please turn your music off." Mr. Garcia responded "I'm not home I'll txt my roommate." Plaintiffs responded "Thank you." On April 20, 2014 (2:55 am), Plaintiffs texted Mr. Garcia "Turn down the music please." Mr. Garcia responded on April 20, 2014 (7:18 am), "Sorry I'm in North Carolina that was my roommate." On May 18, 2014 (11:27 pm), Plaintiffs texted "Can you please stop the music." No response from Mr. Garcia.

When, on another occasion, they knocked on his door at 2 a.m. with a plea to turn the music down, the lawsuit says he admitted to having received 36 loud-noise citations from the city and that he'd paid $15,000 in fines as a result.

Those figures, offered secondhand as part of a lawsuit, may not be quite reliable, as our open records request with the city for that information will take two weeks to process.

We reached Justin Tilley briefly last week for confirmation, but he said he was busy and asked us to call back. He hasn't answered or returned our subsequent phone calls. Also staying quiet is Garcia's attorney, Sean M. Whyte. Reached Monday morning, he said he's not allowed to speak on the case. Asked why, he repeated: He wasn't allowed to speak on the case.

The one person who would comment on the case is Doom's attorney (and, probably not coincidentally, his former across-the-street neighbor) Eric Buether.

"This is really a dispute between Mr. Tilley and his wife and the residents of the property," Buether said.

Doom can -- and has -- asked his tenants to keep the noise down, but Buether says his client has no legal responsibility to do anything further.

"The duty to be a peaceable neighbor is the duty of the people who live there. ... He can't go down there and put muzzles on them or cut their speaker cable wires or anything like that," Buether says.

Buether told us that on Friday, before District Judge Emily Tobolowsky agreed with Garcia's request and ordered the case temporarily sealed.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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26 comments
JackJett
JackJett

I love watching people who enjoy their gigs and this dude really digs his gig. 


When a storm is a brewin', Petey is a stewin'.

Tornado coming to town, The Petester gettin' down.



robbieredphone
robbieredphone

If this happend to me and they did not respond to the normal complaints.....I would go so ghetto on them they would wish they never owned a stereo. And who owns stereos anymore anyway ? Don't they have an ipod ? 

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

HOAs are a necessary evil in dense urban environments.  I would not live in a building without one. 

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Last week after the rain, the frogs were so loud I could hardly hear the crickets.

becoolerifyoudid
becoolerifyoudid

Can we just have Mr. Garcia live next to Chung Kim?  Seems that would be just and fair for all concerned.

fred.garvin.mp.713
fred.garvin.mp.713

I had a neighbor like this when I was renting a small efficiency in uptown. He would play loud techno at all hours. It was so loud that no amount of loud knocking could get his attention. I called the cops once, they came by, he turned the music off, they left, and he turned it right back up.

doublecheese
doublecheese

I wish I had an awesom supervillain last name like Doom.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

The worst choice is the 2nd flood center apartment in a three-floor building.

You have six immediate neighbors. Statistically, at least one will be problematic,

Then you move to the burbs, cut the risk in half, but eventually, you start quoting Frost.

JustSaying
JustSaying

Bass is bad enough but I draw a line in the sand when accordions get involved.

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

I completely understand this couple's pain. When renting a townhome in Addison, our neighbor would turn up the stereo like that and then just leave. Since it was part of a complex, the management eventually evicted him for repeatedly doing this (people in other buildings were complaining).


The worst I've had is the people living across the street from me. We've had to call the police because their music was so loud it was shaking our house.

mcdallas
mcdallas

That guy was Doomed.  Tilley decided to sue.

TexMarine
TexMarine

$15k in fines?! Dude....buy a nice set of headphones.


JFPO
JFPO

I hope I never have to live in a place with shared walls ever again.

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

@fred.garvin.mp.713 Believe it or not, the key is to keep calling the authorities. If they have to come by to often, it is reported to building management who can get in trouble with the city if the police are called out to often.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@JustSaying

So do Carribbeans.

dingo
dingo

@TexMarine 

15k plus attorney fees plus some future landlord spotting this episode as part of a background check and denying residence or tacking on a nuisance deposit in case neighbors move out early.

FauxburbanDallas
FauxburbanDallas

@JFPO Now that is the attitude of a reactionary, counter-revolutionary, bourgeois, capitalist pig. You know what happens to people like you when you refuse to put on the blue jumpsuit and do your morning exercises, right? Private walls are manifestations of racism and climate denialism. The new EPA rules will sort out you middling, private-wall people! Only the Elites and Party Members deserve private walls.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@JFPO

That's exactly what our planners want you to do, share more walls, it's more efficient in every way, it's progressive.

fred.garvin.mp.713
fred.garvin.mp.713

The apartments were torn down, he moved in right before we received the notice from our landlady.

Some people may complain that the tenants are "abusing" the courts, but they are homeowners, the neighbor is renting, and the landlord is doing nothing about it. That's what civil courts are for, otherwise we'd all kill each other.

FauxburbanDallas
FauxburbanDallas

@JFPO @FauxburbanDallas Yes. Very much a parody of our current crop of Fabian socialists who want to tear down all the highways, ghettoize everyone into "dense, urban, bikeable, walkable spaces," and limit personal mobility to wherever and whenever the bus or train says you can come and go.

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