Italy's Supreme Court has ruled that a loud flushing toilet violated the human rights of a couple living in a neighboring flat
A couple has won a drawn-out legal fight over a loud flushing toilet after Italy's Supreme Court found that their human rights were violated. The battle kicked off in 2003 after four brothers who lived near Italy's La Spezia city built a new toilet in their flat. Their next-door neighbors swiftly complained that the flushing sound during the night was so loud that it woke them up.
Their bed was right up against the wall connecting to the apartment where the toilet had been installed.
The initial complaint, seeking the resolution of the noise problem and damages, was dismissed by a judge. Genoa's appeals court overturned that dismissal and stated after an investigation that the flush sound was "a large excess of three decibels over the threshold required."
The four brothers were ordered to modify the flush and pay around €500 ($567.40) for every year since the toilet was installed. They took the case to Italy's highest appeals court, which also backed the couple, agreeing the flush had a negative effect on their life. Specifically, the court stated that the flush violated the constitutionally given right to "respect one's own private and family life" that the couple was entitled to under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The defeat in Italy's highest court marked the end of a nearly 20-year legal battle for the neighbors. As such, the ruling from the Genoa appeals court stands, and the brothers have to pay the fee that was outlined, as well as move the water tank that makes the noise.
Italian newspaper Il Giornale, mocking the slow pace of the country's judicial system, joked that the toilet dispute had taken longer than it did for Albert Einstein to write his theory of relativity.