Vieux Carre residents sue Old Opera House, claiming noise ordinance violations

By Chelsea Partington | Oct 7, 2014

NEW ORLEANS – Two Vieux Carre residents are suing the Old Opera House's property owners, managers and insurers for alleged civil code and noise ordinance violations.

Peterson M. Yokum and Polly Elizabeth Anderson filed suit against Mintz and Mintz Realty LLC, Marullo Management Group LLC, Bourbon at Toulouse LLC, Old Opera House, Jude Marullo, North America Capacity Insurance Company and Houston Specialty Insurance Company in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court on Aug. 5.

Yokum and Anderson reside at 723 Toulouse St. in New Orleans, and have lived there since 1966 and 1992, respectively. The plaintiffs allege that 723 Toulouse St. is located in the Vieux Carre section, or French Quarter, of New Orleans, in the VCC-2 mixed commercial and residential zoning district.

"Old Opera House" is the operating name of a nightclub located at 601 Bourbon St. and is reportedly owned, operated, and managed by the defendants.

The petition states that the Old Opera House is open six nights a week between 5 p.m. and 4 a.m., and operates as nightclub that serves alcoholic beverages and provides amplified live or recorded music and entertainment.

Yokum and Anderson say that since Aug. 5, 2013 the noise coming from the Old Opera House is clearly audible throughout their home and the homes of others located within 200 feet of the club. The disturbance is sufficient to cause "physical discomfort and annoyance" to the plaintiffs and to any person of ordinary sensibilities, says the suit. The petition cites Louisiana Civil Code Articles 667, 669, and 2315 as actionable in this case.

The plaintiffs aver that any business in violation of any provision of the city code's noise ordinances may be subject to abatement summarily by a restraining order or injunction, according to MCNO Sec. 66-141.

Yokum and Anderson claim that, since Aug. 5, 2013, they have made repeated requests to employees and management at the Old Opera House that they lower the music. The plaintiffs assert that the club's personnel have done nothing to decrease the volume of entertainment.

Yokum and Anderson say that they have kept a log of auditory offenses coming from the Old Opera House documenting at least three instances of disturbance. Yokum, who owns the residence at 723 Toulouse, claims to have suffered a diminution of his property's value. Yokum and Anderson allege that they have suffered inconvenience, mental distress and the loss of use and enjoyment of their home and property resulting from the inability to sleep and enjoy the privacy of their own home.

The defendants are accused of negligence, including failing to train employees, failing to maintain adequate sound control and measurement equipment, failing to adequately and properly measure sound levels emanating from their premises and  failing to institute policies and procedures to assure compliancewith City of New Orleans' noise ordinances.

Defendant Jude Marullo is accused of perpetuating a nuisance at 601 Bourbon St. in New Orleans through his personal hands-on mismanagement and disregard for Yokum and Anderson's complaints.

The plaintiff seeks a trial by jury, in addition to an unknown amount in damages for loss of use and enjoyment of property, all special/general damages, damages from diminution of property value, anxiety, emotional distress, physical pain and suffering, loss of income and earnings capacity, together with all costs, attorney's fees and legal interest.

Peterson M. Yokum and Polly Elizabeth Anderson are represented by Stuart H. Smith of Smith Stag LLC, Barry J. Cooper of Cooper Law Firm LLC and Ron A. Austin of Austin & Associates.

The case has been assigned to District G Judge Robin M. Giarrusso.

Case no. 2014-07676.

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