Litigation Support and Courtroom Sound Demonstrations

Alan Fierstein testifying before NY City Council

Message from Al Fierstein

My specialty is testing and applying the test results to produce proper job recommendations. I have used a hands-on approach to thousands of jobs over 36 years. In addition, I have had successful experience devising, when necessary, unique solutions which have become standard practice for others.

I constantly see soundproofing jobs that have been done incorrectly because of incorrect assumptions and lack of appropriate testing. For instance, some consultants are actually salesmen for their acoustical products. Their consultant status offers a veneer of legitimacy to their expensive and often ineffective foams and sheets. One "consultant" sells products, all made by others, with the names changed so that you can't find them elsewhere.

I often see consultants deluge their clients with computer programs and impressive charts and graphs that are irrelevant. Or they write reports with technical terms that cannot be understood. See one example.

Sometimes consultants have to rent equipment that they have no idea how to use. This does not inspire confidence in judges and juries. I often bring my own equipment into court for convincing demonstrations.

By demonstrating sound levels on a spectrum analyzer I was able to convince a jury that the Dept. of Environmental Protection’s expert was wrong, resulting in a large cash award for my client. See Turley v. NYC Police Department.

In a case in which my client was being disturbed by noise from a recording studio in his building, I made a recording of the music he heard for calibrated playback in court. The judge was thus able to experience the noise disturbance himself. The result was that the recording studio had to completely rebuild their facility. See Alchemy v. House Of Sound

I always advise and educate my client's attorneys so they know how to question the opposition. By demonstrating inconsistencies in testing procedures, a judge discredited the opposing expert and ordered my opponent's business closed. See Pilot Recording Studios v. Sutton Gymnastics.

I have been building electronic systems since I was 6 years old. A ham radio operator at the age of 7, I was in the part-time business of building burglar alarm systems for neighbors as a teenager. I have designed hundreds of electronic devices for many customers. I have performed electronics repairs for thousands of clients. I have designed devices that are used by many acoustic consultants and government laboratories.

As a result, I have a good working knowledge of the sound equipment that I use in my consulting work. I believe that without electronics knowledge, a consultant's use of measuring equipment is seriously hampered.

An “expert” witness whose knowledge and experience is lacking can produce disastrous results for his client in court. Judges appreciate learning about sound from someone they can rely on. If they feel that they are being talked down to, or they don't understand what the expert witness is saying, they may not credit their testimony.

An expert witness is one whose qualifications allow him to present testimony based on his opinions, rather than just facts.

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Alan Fierstein has 41 years of acoustic consultation experience and is routinely accepted as an expert witness in noise abatement cases. He has extensive experience in Federal, State and Civil Courts as well as administrative bodies such as BSA and DEP. That experience becomes especially important where there is opposing expert testimony to be countered, testimony that is frequently plagued by inappropriate methods and conclusions.

Read a recent Testimonial Letter from an Attorney

Courtroom Sound Demonstrations

One very effective strategy in noise cases to demonstrate in court just exactly what the complaining party hears. We can record the sound at the listener's location (just above their pillow, at 1 AM, for instance) and simultaneously measure its level and See Al Fierstein in action [VIDEO]: Testimony and sound level demonstration at the State Liquor Authority frequency response. This information allows us to accurately recreate the sound in court with a portable sound system. We pioneered this system years ago and have more experience in sound recording than any other consultant in New York.

Documentation

We can make computer charts to prove that annoying noises are serious problems. A picture is sometimes worth a thousand words. Computer Noise Log
We also have special equipment for logging longer-term or intermittent noise. This includes a custom-built tamper-proof test rig that can be left in a client's space to make calibrated recordings of noise for future analysis or court playback. In a recent case we played back the noise coming from a recording studio for the judge, forcing the studio to fix the problem.

Documenting a "Recurring Pattern of Nuisance"

In a recent case that was reported in various newspapers, a resident lost his case against a restaurant, largely because he and his consultant (not Acoustilog) did not present evidence of a recurring, ongoing problem. See Pildes vs. Restaurant Daniel

Tamper Proof Noise Recording Rig

Our calibrated recording system (read more) is designed to do just that — document multiple occurrences of noise over a period of days or even weeks — something that cannot be accomplished by a couple of brief visits. Here's an article that describes the necessity of documenting a pattern of nuisance, rather than an isolated incident or two. NY Housing Journal Article

News: Appellate Court issues injunction in favor of our clients, based on evidence obtained using the Acoustilog Long-Term Recording System


Attorneys

We have worked with numerous law firms on behalf of their clients. In addition to our measurement and expert witness services, we can help lawyers prepare effective questions for use in cross-examining an opposing witness.

If you have a client whose business makes noise, such as a nightclub or gym, or is sensitive to noise, such as a recording studio, we can help you with site evaluation (before your client signs a lease) and advise you on any noise-related language in the lease.

Once we have done a consultation for you we can help you find an attorney with experience in noise cases. They require an acoustical report in order to properly advise you. George Locker, an attorney we worked with recently, has written an informative article about the process.

Representative Court Appearances

Case Court Presiding
61 West 62 Owners Corp. v. CGM EMP LLC, et al., Supreme Court, Appellate Div, 1st Dept. Tom, Catterson, Moskowitz, DeGrasse
Alchemy Condominium vs. Howard Finkelstein, House Of Sound Inc. and Robert Clivilles Affidavit
Arlington Club Noise Violation
(dismissed)
Environmental Control Board ALJ Robin Zupnick
Boswells vs. Kowall Housing Court Judge Peter Wendt
Brasseur vs. Level Club Condominium NY State Supreme Court Judge Carol R. Edmead
Chung vs. Indigo Kitchen Harlem , LLC Index No. 155008/2015 NY State Supreme Court Judge Shlomo S. Hagler
Shepard Ellenberg & Penquin Tenants Corp Amer. Arbitration Ass'nPeter Goetz, Arbitrator
NYC DEP v. Tao Restaurant. NOV #000260520M ECB ALJ Rachel Potasznik
Matter of Filippini NYC Loft Board ALJ John Spooner
Flatiron Group (Limelight Nightclub) State Liquor Authority
Hot and Crusty vs. Seymour Housing Court Judge Goldman
John Gotman vs. Magic Venture Recording Studios Supreme Court Judge Schacman
Judith Abrams v 4-6-8 NYC Civil Court, Housing Part B Judge David Cohen
Kahona Beach LLC and Yamilee Bongo Against Santa Ana Restaurant, 344 Bowery Retail LLC And Robert Lombardi NYS Supreme Court, NY County. Civil Term Part 15: 105937/09 Judge Walter Tolub
NYC DEP Vs. Ballinger's/Webster Hall ECB Hearing Officer Mark Weiner
Orange Theory Gym BSA .
Paul vs. Rokosz (Click for full text) Civil Court of NYC Hon. Joseph Capella
Pilot Recording Studios vs. Sutton Gymnastics NY State Supreme Court Hon. Rosalyn Richter
Rock Springs Mgt. vs. Nada Severdija Civil Court Judge Peter Wendt
Rome, Inc. State Liquor Authority ALJ A.Tessler
Turley Vs. NYC Police Department, 93 Civ. 8748 (AGS) U.S. Federal Court
Village 12th St. LLC vs. Dale Gordon Goldstein NYC Civil Court, Housing Part C Judge Brenda S. Spears
1080 Warburton Associates vs Bruce Dulak Yonkers City Court SP-3176-07 Judge Mary Anne Scattaretico-Naber
815 Park Owners V. Sanford Rose Civil Court Judge Walter Strauss
Coriander Way Condo Associates v. Corway Corp., Dkt. No. BER-L-1986-94 Berger County Superior Court, New Jersey Law Division
David Barton Gym, 173-95-BZ New York City Board of Standards and Appeals
85th Columbus Corp. v. Ethan Silverman Index No. 056947/93 New York City Civil Court, Manhattan Housing Part
506 East 88th Street v. Jean Davidson, Index No. 084031/92 New York City Civil Court, Manhattan
John Pere 304 Mullberry Street V. Allen Sack Index No.122696/93 New York City Civil Court, Manhattan
Matt Resnicoff v Arnold Friedman, Merna Friedman, and Plaza 400 Owners Corp Index No.134016/94 Supreme Court Judge Wilke