A family with an autistic son was driven out of their home after neighbors sued them, claiming the boy caused house prices to plummet in the neighborhood and calling him a “public nuisance.”
Vidyut Gopal and Parul Agrawal were left with no choice but to move out of their Sunnyvale, California, home of seven years after neighbors brought a lawsuit against them in regard to their son.
According to the suit, the boy pulled children’s hair and bit a woman in the neighborhood — prompting his parents to hire caregivers and give their son special medication and therapy sessions.
The suit alleged that the boy’s behavior created an “as-yet unquantified chilling effect on the otherwise ‘hot’ local real estate market,” and that residents felt “constrained in the marketability of their homes as this issue remains unresolved and the nuisance remains unabated.”
“This has been pretty devastating for us, but we are doing our best to cope with it,” Gopal said.
Neighbor Sue Alford, 61, said she felt the suit was justified.
“We all met with them and talked to them about their son, but they didn't see our point of view,” Alford said. “We wanted the street to be a safe place for other children.” The woman said she “didn’t want to make enemies out of any of my neighbors,” and said outsiders shouldn’t rush to judge residents in the neighborhood.
“We went out of our way to be understanding and kind to him,” she said. “When you see everything, all of the pieces will fit together and maybe there will be an understanding."
Gopal and Agrawal now rent their former home to another family, though they have no hope that they’ll ever feel comfortable returning.
“We have no intention of coming back,” Gopal said.