Three busloads of airport noise opponents packed a federal courtroom in Los Angeles in a show of force they hoped would fight back a move to exclude them from a lawsuit that seeks to increase the number of flights at Long Beach Municipal Airport. More than 120 members of Long Beach Homeowners Under Stress and Hazard filled every seat and the remainder stood during proceedings Monday before U.S. District Judge Laughlin Waters.
HUSH is fighting a motion brought by attorneys for Pacific Southwest Airlines that would drop the group as a party to a lawsuit brought by major airlines, thus preventing testimony by its members.
The airlines are challenging a city law that restricts the number of flights at the airport. Waters has issued temporary orders that allow 26 flights by major airlines and 25 flights by commuter airlines.
HUSH attorney Michael Thurman said PSA attorneys also have moved to exclude the group's evidence of the ill effects of living under the flight path, besides testimony about the problem. "We got all of our forces in tow and took them up to the courthouse," Thurman said. "It was an opportunity to show the judge there are people in Long Beach who are concerned about expansion of the Long Beach airport."
The judge noted the presence of HUSH members, but withheld making a decision on a motion by major airlines that would drop the group as a party to the lawsuit. Trial is scheduled to start March 8.