Judge Judy's law savvy hasn't stopped her from being sued.
Two television writers/producers, Kaye Switzer and Sandi Spreckman, started working with Judge Judy Scheindlin during 1995. They entered into a contract together with Scheindlin and an entertainment company called Big Ticket to create what would become the hugely successful Judge Judy reality television courtroom series for CBS. The contract called for Kaye Switzer and Sandi Spreckman to be paid a flat fee as well as ongoing percentage-based compensations for their work as co-producer of the show.
The contract agreement said that Kaye Switzer and Sandi Spreckman would be paid for the entire life of the television series even if they were not contracted to perform any further services for the show in the future.
Forbes says that a lawsuit filed on behalf of Kaye Switzer and Sandi Spreckman’s estate (he died in 2009 from lung cancer) names Judge Judy as a defendant along with BIG Ticket and CBS. The claim is that Kaye Switzer and Sandi Spreckman should have received close to $5 million in compensation for 5 percent of the proceeds from the sale to CBS of the Judge Judy show library at the price of $95 to $100 million.
The plaintiffs suing Judge Judy allege that there was a breach of contract, a breach of an implied covenant (promise), a civil conspiracy between the defendants, and unjust enrichment of the defendants that caused harm to the plaintiffs and violated their agreement.
CBS is already embroiled in another lawsuit filed against them by Rebel Entertainment that had a percentage-based part of the Judge Judy television series. Their payout diminished to zero value because Judy Scheindlin received up to $47 million per year in salary for doing the shows. They claim this payment to Judge Judy was unjust and unfair.
In that case, Judy Scheindlin bragged that her salary was a demand that she made of CBS, which was not negotiable. She also said that she and CBS were “partners” in her show and she could take it anywhere else if they failed to agree to her demands. Like she once said in the Judge Judy show, “I am the boss, Applesauce!” The Rebel Entertainment vs. CBS case is scheduled to go on trial during March 2018.
It would be a hoot to see Judge Judy on the witness stand in either trial. Maybe she will repeat the line she once said in her show, which was “If you live to be a hundred, you will never be as smart as me. On your best day, you're not as smart as I am on my worst day.”
We can only fantasize about this courtroom scene because it is not likely that Judge Judy will take the stand in either case. The most likely outcome from both of these trials is that the parties will reach some kind of settlement before the case goes to trial.