California couple being sued over autistic son’s effect on local property values
by Patrick Hogan
September 18, 2015 9:43 a.m.
Raising a child with special needs is a difficult task. It requires a lot of patience and empathy. For example: think about how your neighbor’s property values are being affected.
The San Jose Mercury News reports a Sunnyvale, Calif., couple is being sued because their autistic son is a “public nuisance” to the neighborhood. The suit, filed by couples who used to live adjacent to Vidyut Gopal, Parul Agrawal and their son claims the boy terrorized the Silicon Valley neighborhood.
The Mercury News quotes the suit as claiming Gopal and Agrawal’s son created an “as-yet unquantified chilling effect on the otherwise ‘hot’ local real estate market” and that “people feel constrained in the marketability of their homes as this issue remains unresolved and the nuisance remains unabated.”
Isn’t that just the worst? You think you’re sitting on some hot real estate, but then the neighbors go and have a child with a developmental disability.
It does sound as though there were behavioral issues involving the child, who reportedly struck a baby, spit at neighbors, and “repeatedly sat on a cat” according to the Mercury News. But crying about property values in a lawsuit seems less like legitimate conflict resolution and more like the plot of a modern-day Charles Dickens novel.
A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge issued a preliminary injunction against Gopal and Agrawal last year, and the family has since moved out of the neighborhood. But the lawsuit forges on, with a hearing next week to determine whether or not the plaintiffs should have access to the child’s school and medical records.
Local TV station KTVU reports local autism awareness groups are trying to bring more attention to the trial.
“Well at first I thought it was a joke. I thought nobody would possibly sue a small child for being a public nuisance,” KTVU quotes Jill Escher of the Autism Society of the San Francisco Bay Area as saying.
A ‘hot’ local real estate market is no joke, Jill.