Local man, daughter's boyfriend both win on 'Judge Judy'

Local man, daughter's boyfriend both win on 'Judge Judy'

Bill Chamberlain, of North Providence, left, with his daughter Alyssa, right, and her boyfriend Thomas Rossi, center, outside the Judge Judy studios in Los Angeles. Chamberlain won his case against Rossi after Judge Judy decided he shouldnÕt have to pay off Rossi's car.

Bill Chamberlain wanted no part of paying this bill, and a famous no-nonsense celebrity judge had his back.

His daughter's boyfriend is a good guy, said Chamberlain, but his charity only extends so far. Being asked to pay off a nearly $5,000 debt that didn't belong to him was just too much.

Chamberlain, of North Providence, and Thomas Rossi, of Pawtucket, faced off last week in front of daytime TV star Judge Judy at the Sunset Bronson Studios in Los Angeles, Calif.

In February, Chamberlain submitted his plea to Judge Judy to be absolved of having to pay off the remaining money owed on Rossi's 2006 Nissan Altima. The show producers love the whole family drama aspect of any case, he said, and a father in a dispute with his daughter's boyfriend was apparently too irresistible.

Chamberlain, a manager for Service Tech Inc. in North Providence, originally decided to co-sign on Rossi's loan when Rossi bought the car two years ago. Rossi needed a second signature, said Chamberlain, and he was more than happy to help him out.

But it didn't take long for Rossi to start struggling to make his payments. When he had his car repossessed for a second time in February, he was given 21 days to pay off the car or lose it. Instead of finding a way to make the $4,875 due both in regular payments and fees for repossession and storage, Rossi instead decided to have Chamberlain pay it.

Chamberlain, who's been a fan of the wisecracking Judy Sheindlin for a long time, immediately thought of submitting his case. It took only weeks to learn that he and Rossi would be featured on a show that accepts only about 3 percent of submitted cases.

The highlight of the episode, which will air at a later date, is when Judge Judy asks Rossi whether he thinks it's his girlfriend's father's responsibility to pay off the car, said Chamberlain. Rossi responds that he thinks that's what co-signers are supposed to do.

"That didn't go over too well with her," said Chamberlain, laughing. "She was hard on him."

Chamberlain said he expects to learn sometime this week when the episode will air.

While Rossi brought Chamberlain's daughter Alyssa Maurelli, also of Pawtucket, with him into the courtroom, Chamberlain brought retired Providence police officer Raymond Boccanfuso as his witness.

It didn't take Judge Judy long to rule that Chamberlain would not have to pay off Rossi's car. But it wasn't a total loss for Rossi. The show will cover the cost of paying off Rossi's remaining debt on his Altima, but he won't be able to keep the car and he loses everything he's put into it. Both parties essentially win, said Chamberlain.

The Judge Judy show also covered airfare and hotel accommodations for everyone involved.

Rossi and Chamberlain had to agree that they wouldn't sue the other party at a later date if they lost the case.

Chamberlain said his daughter and Rossi are still together and he still has a great relationship with both of them, despite the dispute over the money.

He said the whole experience was fantastic, from getting to see the inside of Judge Judy's courtroom for himself - it's much smaller than he thought - to meeting Officer Byrd after going outside to grab a smoke.