A couple who were forced to take refuge in the British Library by the sound of a soccer ball persistently “crashing” against their fence have won a court case.
Warren Bergson, a lawyer, and his wife, Dr. Edel McAndrew-Bergson, a psychologist, joined the library to seek peace and quiet after being bothered by the repeated “craps” of their neighbor’s son’s balloon.
Chaim Adler’s eight-year-old son sent his football into their compound every weekend, the couple said.
In May 2018, Mr Bergson confiscated the ball after it flew into their garden, leading to Mr Adler bursting into their yard and using “aggressive body language” towards the couple over how his son had been reduced to tears .
Mr Adler, 34, the head of a fire alarm company, also knocked on the older couple’s door at their home in Golders Green, London, and pressed his face against their window, “baring his teeth and growling” against them, the mayor and It was said in the City of London Court.
Judge Stephen Hellman KC found that although Mr Bergson should not have confiscated the ball, Mr Adler had overreacted and ‘harassed’ the couple.
He said the Bergsons were a “mature couple who loved peace and quiet”, while the Adlers enjoyed family gatherings on the weekends, which “would always be a potential source of tension”.
Mr. Adler’s parents, Zavy and Esther Adler, who own the property next door to the Bergsons, are also facing payments as a result of the dispute.
Clashes between the Bergsons and their neighbors began in August 2017 when Dr McAndrew-Bergson was hanging out his washing and water started leaking into the garden next door.
Her husband realized that this was caused by the Adlers’ grandchildren’s use of the wading pool.
The couple said Mr Bergson had protested to his neighbours, but that Zavy Adler, 72, had rushed at him and followed him into his garden, “swearing and raving” and “dancing frantically”, abusing the Dr. McAndrew-Bergson with a particularly offensive Yiddish term, the court heard.
The police were called, and although Mr Bergson and Mr Adler subsequently shook hands, the Bergsons claimed the incident was the beginning of a “campaign of harassment”.
The couple said a football was “smashed” repeatedly into their fence each weekend to intimidate them and that they had picked up their British Library season tickets to escape the noise.
The court heard that over a long weekend in May 2018, they had become so frustrated with the noise of the ball that Dr McAndrew-Bergson had grabbed it and thrown it over another neighbor’s fence as it entered her garden.
On another occasion, on the same weekend, her husband decided to confiscate it and take it to his apartment
The couple claimed this caused Chaim Adler to enter their garden with a number of family members, “growling” at Mr Bergson and on the second occasion attempting to force his way into their flat, the court heard.
The judge said it was clear Mr Adler “was angry that they had twice made his eight-year-old son cry”. But, although Mr. Bergson should have returned the ball when asked and Dr. McAndrew-Bergson should not have thrown it over the other neighbor’s fence, Mr. Adler’s response was not justified and was harassment.
He adjourned the case to a later date when he decides how much Dr. McAndrew-Bergson should get in compensation from Mr and Mrs Adler for the interference and from his son for the harassment and trespassing.
He will then also decide who gets to pay the lawyers’ bills for the case, which are likely to be substantial, having spent three days in court, with another hearing yet to come.