Judge Permits Homeowners' Noise Case Against Minneapolis to Proceed

Thousands of homeowners will get their day in court over airport noise in a lawsuit filed against the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) because Hennepin County District Judge Stephen Aldrich decided Wednesday to allow the case to go forward.

"The homeowners are thrilled," lawyer Carolyn Anderson said. "We won everything."

MAC spokesman Patrick Hogan said the commission was disappointed by the decision. "We believe our actions to mitigate noise around Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport are consistent with our obligations to the communities and residents of Minnesota," he said in a statement.

The homeowners living near the airport brought the class-action suit accusing the MAC of breaking a promise to insulate their homes. They claim the promise was part of an agreement to expand the airport rather than build a new one farther out.

A May 7 trial date was set. The case is on a parallel track with a suit filed on behalf of the cities of Minneapolis, Richfield and Eagan.

The homeowners in the class-action suit contend there was both an expressed and implied contract with the MAC. The estimated cost of the insulation is $37,100 per home and includes repair and replacement of exterior windows, the addition of storm windows, repair or replacement of doors, addition of storm doors, attic insulation and central air conditioning.

In depositions, the mayors of Minneapolis, Eagan and Richfield said they supported the airport expansion in exchange for an expansion of the noise mitigation program. Aldrich will ultimately decide how many homes and which homes are included, Anderson said.

In the other suit, Aldrich already has ruled the MAC broke a commitment to provide soundproofing to thousands of homes in violation of its own noise-abatement standards.

Final arguments in that case were heard last week. Aldrich gave no indication when he would rule on the matter but told the parties he would prefer they settled it themselves.

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