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Family Evicted After Father Hoses Neighbors Over Smoking

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WOODLAND HILLS (CBS) — A court ruled this week that a Woodland Hills man was a nuisance when he sprayed water at sunbathing smokers two years ago at an apartment complex pool.

John Birke and his wife, Caryl, have lived at Oakwood Apartments for nearly 15 years. They have an 11-year-old daughter, Melinda, who suffers from asthma.

John claims he sprayed the smokers with water because their secondhand smoke was irritating his daughter’s condition.

“I went and got a water spray bottle and came back to make a point and stood behind them and started spraying water in the area. And I said, ‘if that’s the way you enjoy the pool, this is the way I enjoy the pool,’” he said.

A year after the incident, John upset management again when he snapped photos of other residents smoking by the pool.

The Birke’s said they’ve pleaded with Oakwood for years before the poolside confrontation to set up a smoker’s area far from where the families gather.

“I’m trying to protect my daughter, trying to stand up for her,” John said.

He said he was shocked that he was deemed the problem, and not the secondhand smoke.

“Noboby was injured or hurt. They were two feet from the pool and got a little wet,” said Caryl.

A statement from Oakwood Worldwide said, “Our priority is to provide a comfortable and safe living environment for our guests…allowing everyone to enjoy the amenities offered at the property. Clearly, the jury understood.”

Oakwood hasn’t said when they’re planning to evict the family.

The Birke’s plan to file an appeal.

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