Global Family Law Services

I Sued My Neighbors, Now They Are Harassing Me—What Should I Do?

| May 21, 2023 | Harassment, Neighbor Disputes

Newsweek – “Ask the Experts”

By Maria Azzurra Volpe On 5/21/23 at 6:00 AM EDT

Dear Newsweek,

I have neighbors who were new six-and-a-half years ago. From the very first day they were here, they began harassing me and trying to run me off of my property. I am 58 years old, disabled, and on a fixed income.

After three years of continuous harassment, including directing a high-intensity spotlight into my home for 584 days and nights, I was forced to file a lawsuit, pro se. After Covid and all the usual delays, we were to have a trial in October of 2022.

I was on my own against four grown bullies with good jobs and their attorney, so we settled before the trial and they paid me $2,000. They are not supposed to harass me anymore, but in the meantime, they installed two flag poles next to the property line and the flag clips make a harsh, annoying metal-on-metal banging noise.

It doesn’t affect the neighbors because they are only here on the weekends. I have to listen to it all day long and cannot go in my yard at all without hearing it. I can even hear it in my house. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

The most amazing thing about this is that the two couples, the harassers, who own the property have very good jobs. One woman works for a children’s hospital as a database manager and her husband is a civilian employee at a U.S. Army arsenal. The second couple consists of an advanced-practice registered nurse, and her husband is a business owner.

I would love to know what I am supposed to do about this. They have no intention of letting me live in peace.

Jackie, Arkansas

Document Any Incidents of Harassment

Featured Expert:
Andrew Zashin is an adjunct professor at the School of Law, Case Western Reserve University, and a managing partner at the Zashin & Rich law firm.

Dear Jackie,

I am sorry to hear about your situation. It is unfortunate that you have had to endure such persistent harassment from your neighbors, and I understand how frustrated you must be with the ongoing noise from their flag poles. There are, however, a few things that you can do to address the situation and hopefully find some relief.

First, review the terms of the settlement agreement that you reached with your neighbors in court. If the agreement specifically prohibits them from engaging in any further harassment or disruptive behavior, you may be able to take legal action if they continue to cause problems.

Consider consulting with an attorney to discuss your options and determine if there are any legal avenues available to you. While this may end up being costly, it may be worth it if it brings you peace of mind.

Second, you should try speaking with your neighbors directly, or through an intermediary, and politely express your concerns about the noise from the flag poles. They may not know how disruptive it is for you, and they may be willing to make changes to reduce the noise or relocate the flag poles, especially if they are at risk of violating the agreement that you reached in court. From duct tape to foam or rubber-covered flag clips, there appears to be many cost-effective, noise-reducing solutions for loud flag clips. They may be willing to purchase the same if it means not having to go back to court.

Next, you could consider mediation with your neighbors. A neutral third party can help facilitate a conversation to address the issue and find a solution that works for both parties.

If speaking with your neighbors directly or through a third party does not resolve the issue, you may need to consider taking more drastic action. This could include filing a complaint with your local government or homeowners association, or even seeking a restraining order in court if you continue to feel threatened or unsafe.
In any case, it is important to document any incidents of harassment or disruptive behavior from your neighbors and keep track of any communication or attempts at resolution.

Keep a record of the times and duration of the noise from the flag poles, as well as any other incidents that occur. You could also consider recording the noise with your phone, or another recording device, to use as evidence. This can help strengthen your case if legal action becomes necessary.

This article originally appeared on Newsweek – “Ask the Experts.”