Automobile

California BMW Owner Sued by Neighbors for Loud Exhaust, Risky Driving

Car enthusiasts often find themselves in the sights of their neighbors for working on vehicles in their driveway or having a ride that’s a bit too old or obnoxious. Typically, if the complaint is legitimate, this is taken care of through a home owner’s association. But when there’s no HOA, well, people get sued.

As Tire Meets Road reports, that’s what’s happening to Bryan Hillman, a car guy who lives in Carlsbad, California. Hillman, who goes by @staticb1tch on Twitter and Instagram, is being sued by two of his neighbors for alleged reckless driving and a loud exhaust. The grand total they’re seeking from Hillman is $15,000.

Hillman has not refuted the claims publicly, although he has commented on the situation via Twitter. In one tweet, he says, “MY NEIGHBOR GOT A LAWER [sic] TO SERVE ME PAPERS SAYING SHE WANTS $10,000 FOR MY CARS DISRUPTING THE NEIGHBORHOOD LMFAO IM SCREAMING.” That tweet is later quoted with pictures of documents that lay out the case.

The first document states that Hillman has “breached the covenant of quiet enjoyment of our home for 5 years through his vehicles’ loud modified mufflers and reckless driving.” It goes on to say that Hillman has allegedly “used verbal assault and intimidation towards Susan.” Susan is the assumed plaintiff in this case. The last part of the document states that Debbie Hillman—who, according to other posts on social media, appears to be to Bryan Hillman’s mother—has “maintained the situation despite many requests to abate.” 

In a nutshell, Hillman allegedly drives recklessly outside of his mother’s house in a car with a loud exhaust and verbally abuses the neighbors. His mom, Debbie, has supposedly done nothing about it.

The second claim is similar in nature and was also posted to Twitter by Hillman. This neighbor is suing him for $5,000 and alleges similar behavior to the first plaintiff.

The document says that “Mr. Hillman’s behavior interferes with the quiet enjoyment of my property due to his wreckless [sic] use of his vehicle.” This neighbor states the situation has been ongoing since 2017.

San Diego County, where Carlsbad is located, has specific regulations against sudden “impulsive noise,” which the county qualifies as any sudden outburst of sound in a residential (non-industrial or agricultural) area exceeding 82 decibels. The regulation states “no person shall produce or cause to be produced an impulsive noise that exceeds the maximum sound level [82 db] when measured at the boundary line of the property where the noise source is located or on any occupied property where the noise is received.” Basically, if somebody wants to make a complaint about you, they have to prove you made noise above 82 decibels while standing within their property line. It’s unclear if Hillman’s neighbors have made such complaints or called the local police. 

Hillman is active on several different forms of social media, including Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. On those platforms, he often posts videos and pictures of his cars. He also maintains a website called “clockincollective” where he sells merchandise. 

One such piece of merchandise is a decal—designed to be affixed to the barrel of a wheel—that says “FUCKSUSAN.” The decal is pictured above. It’s assumed Susan is the aforementioned neighbor who’s suing him. 

Hillman’s post on social media shows a driver, presumably Hillman himself, doing donuts and sliding around on public streets, although it’s unclear if these videos were taken in his neighborhood. A few of those clips were posted to Twitter but now seem to be deleted.

Another such video posted to Hillman’s Twitter feed shows a driver in a Honda Civic backing into a driveway and then screeching its tires as it quickly pulls out, with the video caption reading, “Thought this clip was gone forever so happy I found it. #fucksusan.” Other, similar videos from Hillman’s social media can be seen on Tire Meets Road.

Hillman’s vehicles include a third-generation (E36) BMW 3 Series convertible, a fourth-generation (E39) BMW 5 Series, and a fourth-generation (E46) BMW 3 Series. All besides the 5 Series are modified to be far lower than stock, either touching the ground or nearly touching the ground. In Hillman’s case, it’s been done without help from suspension-mounted airbags, which raise the car’s ride height when the vehicle is moving to make it easier to drive. Lowering a car that much without airbags means the car’s ride height is fixed in that position for the time being, or static, hence Hillman’s social media handle @staticb1tch.

The claims were served to Hillman two days ago, so the situation is still ongoing. Not shown in the documents posted to Twitter were the court dates for each claim served, so yes, Hillman will be going before a judge to resolve each of these issues. Anything from photographs to police reports is admissible in California small claims court and witnesses are allowed to speak as well. If the plaintiff’s claims can be backed up, a judge will decide on the appropriate course of action.

Update at 2:45 p.m. on 05/13/2021: Videos posted by Hillman to Twitter were previously embedded in this post but seem to have been deleted. They showed a car, supposedly one of his own, sliding on a public street. The relevant text has been edited to reflect.

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