Saturday, February 08, 2014

Magistrate Recommends Dismissal of Suit Over Disturbing Church Bells

In Devaney v. Kilmartin, (D RI, Feb. 6, 2014), a Rhode Island federal magistrate judge recommended dismissing a Narragansett, Rhode Island resident's complaint about constantly ringing church bells.  The court described plaintiff's complaint:
the Amended Complaint focuses on St. Thomas More Church’s electronically-amplified bells, located across the street from Mr. Devaney’s home, which he contends have gonged and pealed 700 times per week at upwards of 100 decibels for at least thirteen years. The Amended Complaint adds another nearby church, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, which Mr. Devaney avers has rung its electronically-amplified bells hourly during daylight “beginning after Plaintiff moved to his home” eighteen years ago. Mr. Devaney alleges that the constant ringing has caused emotional distress and denied him peaceful enjoyment of his property.... 
Recommending dismissal without prejudice, the magistrate judge concluded:
While Mr. Devaney’s exasperation is clear as a bell in his Amended Complaint, the connection between his pique and a plausible federal cause of action is not. It is conceivable that he may have an important claim arising under the United States Constitution; however, his pleading does not articulate one.
WPRI reports on the decision.