$72,000 settlement ends suit for damages from police noise-making device

David Kirkwood
August 24, 2013

PITTSBURGH—As Hearing News Watch readers with exceptionally long memories may recall, nearly two years ago this blog reported on a lawsuit brought against the City of Pittsburgh. The plaintiff, Karen Piper, who was a visiting professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University, claimed that she had suffered permanent hearing loss in September 2009 when Pittsburgh police used a Long Range Acoustic Device to disburse protesters at a Group of 20 Economic Summit conference.

Piper, who was on the faculty at the University of Missouri, said she went to the demonstration because she was writing a book about the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, two financial organizations that have been the subject of protests around the world.



On August 19, the city and Piper filed motions formally ending the suit. Pittsburgh agreed to pay the plaintiff $72,000. City officials also agreed to meet with a consultant selected by Piper’s lawyers who could advise the city on how to use the Long Range Acoustic Device, which produces high-intensity sounds and amplifies commands to disburse. The settlement doesn’t require the city to abide by the consultant’s recommendations.

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