Judge Dumps Loud Music Lawsuit

By | April 30, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Note to litigious concertgoers: Everybody knows loud music can impair your hearing, so don’t bother suing musicians. Particularly aging ones known for “bluesy, good-time roots-rock.”

Citing this painfully obvious fact, a New York judge has dismissed a lawsuit from a lawyer complaining of hearing damage after attending an “unreasonably loud” concert by former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman John Fogerty.

“That ‘loud music’ can cause hearing impairment is ‘perfectly obvious’ and ‘commonly appreciated,’ ” Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Martin Schoenfeld told the plaintiff Jeffrey Powell.

Powell had filed a $5 million lawsuit (yes, $5 million) in 1998, claiming that a 1997 concert at the Manhattan Center featured “unsafe levels of noise” and caused “a profound loss of hearing in his left ear,” according to the eight-page court document. He also alleged the concert was so loud he had to move to an outside ballroom while his pals had to stuff tissues in their ears.

Schoenfeld scoffed at the charges, telling Powell he had an “eggshell ear” and pointing out that Fogerty is known for his “bluesy, good-time roots-rock.” He also criticized Powell for sticking around when he had a history of getting ringing ears after rock concerts.

“An objective, reasonable 51-year-old lawyer, particularly one who has experienced ringing in his ears after prior concerts, would know that loud music can cause hearing impairment,” the judge wrote in the decision that was made public Monday.

Powell could not be reached for comment, and Fogerty’s rep said his legal team was unaware the lawsuit existed.

But the Web is already buzzing with sarcastic music fans.

“Idiot was trolling for business by not wearing some earplugs,” scoffed one post on a Yahoo message board.

“Dumbass,” agreed another Web surfer. “Tattoo that big ‘L’ on your forehead fool.”

Even Judge Schoenfeld couldn’t pass on a dig at Powell. “Nobody is forced to attend rock ‘n’ roll concerts,” he said.