Homeless man files lawsuit against tire company over loud classical music played near encampment and wins



A tire company in California was ordered to stop playing loud music near a homeless encampment after a homeless man filed a lawsuit against the company.

“The first night, I got to bed at 1 a.m.. The second night, I got no sleep during the night. And the third night, Sunday night, I had no way to get any sleep,” said Bruce Gaylord to KGO-TV.

‘I’m just a person who has schizoaffective disorder and mental illness.’

Gaylord said that he has lived in the encampment in the city of San Rafael, California, since last year after he stopped to get medications in Barstow to treat his mental illness and his truck was stolen.

The encampment is located next to the East Bay Tire Company on Lincoln Ave. Gaylord said that they recently began to blare out classical music in an effort to drive away the homeless people living there.

“It was painful,” he said of the music. “That’s how loud it was. Rock concert loud.”

He said that he tried to call police but that they didn’t help him. So, he called homeless advocate Robbie Powelson, who went down to document the music near the encampment.

“We took a decibel reading of the sound. We measured that the decibels were between 50-118 decibels. In general, it was far above the San Rafael noise ordinance, so it was illegal,” Powelson told KRON-TV.

“Robby was a Godsend,” said Gaylord.

Powelson filed a lawsuit against the company, and a judge ordered them to temporarily stop the music.

‘Everything from illegal drug use to prostitution.’

East Bay Tire assistant manager Robbie Derho told KGO that they had set up the music and security announcements in order to protect their employees and to deter behavior spilling over from the encampment.

“Every morning we’re out here picking up garbage and glass and different things, so it’s been hard,” Derho said.

“We have guys that get here at 5:30 in the morning,” he continued. “They’re all by themselves. We do 24 hour roadside service. The technicians show up in the middle of the night, 3 in the morning, they’re alone.”

Derho added that employees from the company had witnessed everything from illegal drug use to prostitution at the encampment. He showed KGO where someone had fired a gun at the building and damaged it.

While the company denies that the music is intended to drive away the homeless, Gaylord said he will press on with the lawsuit in order to defend the people at the encampment.

“I’m just a person who has schizoaffective disorder and mental illness. And as you can see, I’m in a wheelchair,” said Gaylord.

He also said that company was unable to produce police reports to support their claim that the homeless people at the encampment had been “bad neighbors.”

Despite the victory against classical music, the encampment may be dismantled if a separate lawsuit falls in favor of the city.



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