FAIRFIELD — Judge Judy has ruled – and a Fairfield man credits the video his 14-year-old son filmed as the reason the judge awarded $5,000 for the loss of peace and quiet due to a neighbor’s weekend parties in an upscale section of Fairfield, where houses once sold for more than $1 million.
“We’re just trying to live a normal life,” said Jeffrey Collins of the problems his family faced because of next-door neighbors.
Collins’ son, Jeffrey Alexander, videotaped the neighbor on a night when police came to the house along Danbury Way near the Paradise Valley development. The tape, played during the “Judge Judy” program broadcast nationally Wednesday, proved crucial for the TV judge’s decision.
The judge asked Collins’ neighbor Lan Pham why the tape showed police handcuffing her. Pham answered that she was stopped when trying to go toward a friend arrested by police.
She was obstructing governmental authority, said Judge Judy, who went on to say she heard on the tape a loud party underway in the garage.
“Why don’t you have parties in your house – instead of the garage?” the judge asked. When Pham said parties take place only on weekends and never during weekdays, Judge Judy said, “People are entitled to sleep on the weekends.”
“They don’t have to get used to your loud parties,” the judge told Pham.
Collins, an engineer, said he never planned to appear on “Judge Judy,” but that the syndicated program contacted him after he filed a small-claims case in Solano County Superior Court seeking $10,000 from his neighbors. Along with the parties, the neighbor’s dog was noisy and Collins said he spent $195 for a system that emits a sound when dogs bark to discourage their barking.
“It didn’t work,” Collins said of the system.
The $699 camera he bought to record activities did, Collins said, thanks to his son taping the incident played during the TV program.
The show was taped in May in Los Angeles. Collins said most of the $5,000 he was awarded goes to the education of 14-year-old Jeffrey Alexander and his twin sister Lauren Alexia. She wants to be an attorney and “Judge Judy” is one of the teen’s favorite television shows, Collins said. The rest of the award went for sight-seeing when the family was in Southern California.
No one answered the door Thursday or Friday morning at the Danbury Way home of Pham, identified on the TV show as a manicurist. Messages left at the home asking to call the Daily Republic were not returned. Pham said during the program that only three parties have been held at the house in the 18 months she’s lived there.
Pham said the garage door is opened slightly during parties to let out cigarette smoke.
Judge Judy, an attorney and former New York judge whose full name is Judy Sheindlin, declared during the TV program that, “I’m going to get to the truth of what happened.”
Collins said the judge did. The program pays the award made in the arbitration conducted by the judge, the Fairfield resident said. The syndicated show also covers the cost of lodging and transportation for both plaintiff and defendant.
Another neighbor in the development where Collins and Pham live said the $5,000 award makes sense.
A neighbor, who declined to give her name, said the $5,000 awarded to Collins didn’t surprise her. She said the only other loud noise in the area comes from someone who sings karaoke songs during springtime.
Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.