Man Blames Aircraft Noise and Pollution For Divorce, Seeks Billions

Stanley G. Hilton is living proof of the seemingly endless supply of litigants with potentially questionable motivations in the United States. Following the dissolution of his marriage, the former civil litigation attorney filed a massive claim against San Francisco International Airport. In short, he names the airports, the airlines that fly in and out, the aircraft manufacturers, Rolls Royce (aircraft engines) and his real estate agents amongst the causes of his marriage collapse and the loss of his career.

His claim is divided into seven causes of action, which include: public nuisance, assault, battery, fraud, breach of contract, breach of covenant of quiet enjoyment and title to house and finally, breach of professional duty of real estate agent and broker and professional negligence.

How the San Francisco International Airport et al. caused the collapse of Hilton’s marriage is outlined on page four of his 16 page complaint [PDF]:

As a proximate result of the noise pollution and air pollution caused by defendants flying aircraft which landed and took off from SFO, continuously from April 9, 2003 to the present, plaintiff has suffered intense physical and emotional injuries, has ahd difficulty breathing, suffered insomnia, lost his marriage, lost his family and also lost his income and lost his career. The public nuisance of air pollution and noise pollution created by defendants has continued unabated and the public entity defendants have done nothing to abate this nuisance and have allowed it to proceed and intensify. In fact, the number of flights of jet aircraft into and out of SFO has increased dramatically from April 2003 to the present. Also, as a proximate result of said public nusance of air pollution and noise pollution, caused by defendant against plaintiff, plaintiff suffered divorce and loss of his family and intense emotional and physical damage to his marriage which marriage had begun in 1995 and ended in divorce February 1, 2008.

So how much is Hilton seeking? Each of his seven causes lists $10 million of punitive damages, but the kicker is his “prayer for relief” on Pg. 16:

WHEREFORE, plaintiff prays for judgment against defendants, and each of them for each cause of action above alleged, as follows:

    1. For special damages for medical costs and all other costs.
    2. For general damages for physical and emotional pain and suffering for $5 million dollars.
    3. For recision of the sales contract entered into in March 2003 between plaintiff and defendants, Michael and Kathleen Sparer and for an Order compelling the Sparers to take back title to the house and pay all of plaintiff’s loans, penalties, late fees, and other damages associated with purchase and loan and payment for this house.
    4. For punitive damages of $10 billion dollars.
    5. For costs of suit.
    6 For all other appropriate relief.

It seems the only person that he didn’t blame in the blame for his current situation is himself, for buying a house four miles southwest of a major international airport.

On the off chance that the airport lawsuit doesn’t work out for him there is a second one ready to go against a building owner and the Otis elevator company [PDF], for his getting stuck in an elevator.


Images: Top, Aerial view of San Francisco International Airport; Bottom, the flight plan for flights taking off and landing in the San Francisco area (the plaintiff’s house is located four miles SW of San Francisco International Airport (SFO))


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