Erich Thalheimer, BSME, INCE Bd. Cert., Acoustical Engineer

Mr. Thalheimer has participated in many legal-related noise and vibration cases involving distressed property suits, commercial establishment permitting, public project defense, and accident reconstruction.  These projects require an extraordinary level of preparation, diligence, documentation, and follow-through.Noise and vibration measurements must be performed to a high degree of calibration traceability, and prediction models must be configured to withstand opposition scrutiny.  In these regards Mr. Thalheimer is exceptionally well qualified given his professional reputation, in-depth knowledge and credentials.

Some legal-related cases that Mr. Thalheimer has worked on include the following:

  • Dogwood Park Legal Defense, Cookeville, TN – Participated in preparation of a legal defense against a reverse condemnation suit in which a resident was claiming noise from children playing in a new park was ruining their property value and quality of life.  Reduced and computed noise level results from noise measurements using Larson Davis Model 831 noise monitors.  Devised a method to filter out insect noise and focus only on the time periods in question in accordance with the Cookeville (TN) Noise Ordinance, Title 11, Chapter 2. The case was settled in the City’s favor.
  • Hunter Sports Range Noise Compliance, Brookhaven, NY (MMXVI) – Supported the Town of Brookhaven in reviewing and assessing shotgun shooting noise levels generated by the Hunter Sports Range.  Performed ambient noise and shooting noise measurements in the community near the range; predicted shotgun noise levels throughout the community using the Cadna-A model; and determined if the noise levels exceeded Brookhaven Ordinance CH 50 noise limits or not.  Developed reasonable and feasible noise control options for the town to demonstrate to Hunter Sports that additional noise mitigation was possible. Performed as expert witness in court to defend findings.
  • Nantucket Hunting Association, Nantucket, MA – Performed a comprehensive noise study for a proposed gun range on Nantucket Island.  The study involved live-fire tests of multiple rifles, pistols and shotguns from the proposed range location, and measuring and evaluating the noise levels in neighborhoods surrounding the range.Empirical gunfire noise propagation models and contour maps were developed, which were followed by hypothetical gun noise modeling using Cadna-A. The results indicated compliance with the Nantucket Noise Bylaw and questioned the applicability of Mass DEP Policy 90-001 (310 CMR 7.10).  Rebuttals were prepared to refute the opposition’s acoustical experts. The results of the study were presented at the Nantucket Zoning Board of Appeals.  Performed an updated live-fire noise measurement test in March 2016 focusing on shooting noise effects at Wigwam Road, and provided expert witness courtroom testimony in Land Court (Case No. 476822) in November 2016. The judge ruled in favor of NHA in January 2018.
  • Page-Olive Connector Project, Missouri Department of Transportation, St. Louis, MO - Provided expert opinion for St. Louis County for noise matters for a new 3-mile (4.8-kilometer) connector project. Oversaw a team who performed retroactive ambient noise monitoring and traffic volume counts in order to complete an environmental impact report (EIR) prepared by others. The most important task was to calibrate the project’s TNM models, which had been developed by others, with actual field measurement noise and traffic data. Also performed validation and expansion of the project’s TNM model files by inserted additional ramps, and critical reviewed noise barriers designs proposed by the design-build contractor. Later provided expert witness testimony and critically reviewed opposition’s acoustical report when the project was challenged in court by members of the Terra Vista community.
  • Town of Natick Noise Bylaw, Natick, MA – Provided assistance to Town Meeting member’s sub-committee with expert advice regarding formulation of a new noise bylaw for the Town of Natick.  The goal in writing the bylaw was to allow for both quantitative evaluation of noise violations (i.e. noise limits) as well allowing for subjective enforcement by officers responding to noise complaints.  Presented the proposed bylaw to multiple town boards and at the Town Meeting in Fall 2007, where the proposal was defeated. 
  • Town of Bellingham Zoning Noise Bylaw, Bellingham, MA – Working with the Bellingham Planning Board, a new and more comprehensive version of the town’s Zoning Noise Bylaw was developed with noise restrictions and noise criteria limits, and was presented for approval before Town Meeting representatives.
  • Distressed Property Suit, Purcell vs. Caltran, Oakland, CA (1997) - Working as vibration expert for the plaintiff, an assessment was performed and report submitted regarding potential adverse vibration conditions affecting a commercial building attributable to nearby highway construction.
  • Harbor Towers Noise Impact Claim Defense, Central Artery/Tunnel Project, Boston, MA (1997) - As technical expert on construction noise control for the CA/T project, a legal defense was organized to defend against claims of noise impact and hardship brought forth by an influential abutting residential complex.  Acoustic data and analysis supporting the Project's position was collected and presented to CA/T project directors and legal staff, and to opposing legal counsel.
  • Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Noise Impact Suit Defense, Central Artery/Tunnel Project, Boston, MA (1997) - As technical expert on construction noise control for the CA/T project, a legal defense was organized to defend against as legal suit alleging noise impact and conditions incompatible with the intended land use of an abutting rehabilitation hospital.  Acoustic data inside and outside the subject hospital, and associated analysis supporting the Project's position was collected and presented to CA/T legal staff.
  • Warren Moto-Cross Noise Impact Study, Adley vs. Town of Warren, Warren, MA (1995) - In response to potential abusive discretion on the part of the Warren Planning Board, a comparison was performed of relative noise emissions severity and associated impact of a proposed motorcycle moto-cross in Warren, MA, to that of an operating dragway in Epping, NH.  The Board had rejected the applicant's request to establish a commercial moto-cross citing noise as the lone reason, yet subsequently approved another applicant's request to build a dragway.  The comparative study clearly demonstrated how much noisier a dragway will be compared to a moto-cross.  Subsequent expert witness testimony to support these findings was presented in Worcester Superior Court (1997).
  • Privitera Accidental Death Case, The Chuck Dietrich Group, Baltimore, MD (1993) - Performed calibrated binaural audio tape recordings during reconstruction of a fatal accident to be introduced during court room expert witness testimony. 
  • Jacksonville Train Court Case, Cambridge, MA (1989) - Performed acoustical analysis of tape recorded train horn noises for inclusion in a court case involving a train collision with a truck.