TV's Judge Judy files first lawsuit, says law firm used her name and photo in ads without her OK
Famed television judge Judith Scheindlin says she has never filed a lawsuit before. But “Judge Judy” said she felt she had no choice but to do so when a Connecticut law firm used her name and photo on television and Internet advertising despite her long-standing decision not to endorse products and services.
Her suit against the Haymond Law Firm and personal injury attorney John Haymond asserts state law claims for misappropriation of her likeness and right of publicity and violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. Scheindlin also asserts a claim for false endorsement under federal law in her complaint, which was filed in federal court in New Haven, according to the Connecticut Law Tribune (sub. req.) and the New York Daily News.
“Over my 50-year career, first as a family court prosecutor, then as a family court judge, and most recently as the presiding judge on Judge Judy, I have never filed a lawsuit against anyone,” said Scheindlin in a written statement provided by a public relations firm. “However, the unauthorized use of my name, image and reputation by Mr. John Haymond is so outrageous that I feel it requires this action. Without my consent, Mr. Haymond has taken my name and image and used it in television and Internet advertisements to falsely suggest that I have endorsed his legal services. Mr. Haymond is a lawyer and should know better.”
Any damages she obtains from the suit will go to a charity that provides college scholarships for women, Scheindlin says. With annual earnings of some $47 million, the New York Daily News reports, she is TV’s highest-paid personality.
The articles don’t include any comment from Haymond or his firm.
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