Ludington City Council Settles in Siren Lawsuit
At their meeting on Monday, the Ludington City Council voted to approve a settlement regarding the Ludington siren federal lawsuit.
The settlement agrees that the siren will not run in the 10 p.m. hour, or at the 12 p.m. hour, except for Saturdays. The City of Ludington will also pay for the federal filing fee, and the plaintiffs will waive all future claims against the city in this matter.
“My clients are very thrilled with the fact that the siren is going to be shut off,” said attorney James Koning, who represented the plaintiffs. “While this was somewhat of a compromise, we consider it a significant win.”
The siren used to be stationed at the former fire department in Ludington, alerting firefighters to an emergency.
It was moved to Copeyon Park in 2019, and reconnected in 2021.
The plaintiff of this case is a veteran, who is suffering from PTSD, and said the siren going off twice a day violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Federal Fair Housing Act (FFHA).
“I think from the city’s perspective, it’s a positive compromise,” said City Manager Mitchell Foster. “It allows us to keep the siren going and use it for future emergency uses if necessary, but also allows the city to recognize that, even an individual veteran like this, who was dealing with an issue like PTSD, that we’re trying to be considerate of that issue, as well.”
Koning said he and his client were surprised at the support they received when the lawsuit was filed.
“I think that there was a recognition that in fact my client was really being harmed,” he said. “Some of the people were against it in the beginning, but many people said now that we know that someone is being harmed by the siren, we don’t want it.”
When the city council first held talks to bring back the siren in 2019, they heard various opinions.
“There are a lot of people in Ludington that find this issue very important to them and they’re very passionate about it,” said Foster. The city council heard from a number of them, as those concerns were brought forward by the plaintiffs beforehand. I think they were doing what they thought was in the best interest of their community members and of their voters.”
Foster said the city believes this is a fair compromise.
“We all wish that it would continue on the noon and 10 pm every day, but we have to recognize that there are other members of our community that it would cause harm to whether that’s a veteran that has PTSD, or whether a child that has some sort of a hearing sensitivity, or somebody that’s trying to get some sleep in those areas,” he said. “This is a way to keep the siren moving forward, but also recognizing those potential issues.”
Koning said his clients are thrilled with the result.
“This was a victory for everybody, because those that want nostalgia can have their nostalgia, and my clients can hopefully get on with their lives,” he said.
There’s still some paperwork to be signed and approved by the judge in this case, so it could still be about a week before this new schedule falls into place.