EXCLUSIVE: Four years after Judith Sheindlin, CBS and others were sued by a producer from the early seasons of the Judge Judy series and the estate of another producer over profits from the big bucks sale of the show’s library, the almost lucratively esoteric dispute looks to have come to the end of the legal road, at least for now.
“The Court, having taken the matter under submission on 02/15/2022 for Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment, now rules as follows: The Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Judith Sheindlin, Big Ticket Pictures, Inc., Her Honor, Inc., CBS Studios Inc. on 03/19/2021 is Granted,” said a one-page ruling yesterday by LA Superior Court Judge Kristin S. Escalante. (read it here).
First filed back in January 2018 by Kaye Switzer and the trust of the late Sandi Spreckman, this particular dust-up over profits from the long running and now shuttered Judge Judy was set to go to trial on June 6 this year. Now, there is always a chance that the Las Vegas and LA-based attorneys for Switzer and the trust of the late Spreckman could appeal. But, truth be told, it’s going to be a steep climb for them to get back on the horse, it you know what I mean? – especially after Monday’s comprehensive ruling.
The whole original case of four years ago was based on a 1999 agreement that saw O.G. producers Switzer and Spreckman to receive lifetime payments from the show even if they no longer worked on it. The 2018 suit sought just under $5 million out of the quick handed $95 million sale of the Judge Judy library to CBS in the summer of 2017.
What has always made this a little weird even by Hollywood accounting standards is that despite a big splash at the time and the company paying out that nearly $100 million, CBS, which is now part of the newly-minted Paramount Global, has been arguing that it never actually bought the valuable library back from Sheindlin. In fact, even in an August filing last year, Sheindlin and the other defendants said things like: “Sheindlin Defendants are entitled to summary adjudication of Plaintiffs’ first cause of action for breach of contract because there is no triable issue of material fact controverting that no sale of the Library ever occurred, or if it did, it was ‘subject to the rights’ of Plaintiffs.”
Clear as mud.
Still, as other suits around profits from Judge Judy were also in legal play (some settled, some not so much), this case seemed to fade into the background as Sheindlin closed up shop on Judge Judy and left her CBS perch after 25 seasons for Amazon and IMDbTV and the recently renewed Judy Justice. This week’s resolution of sorts also comes as an August 15 trial date over Rebel Entertainment Partner’s $5 million suit from August 2020 over profits from that supposed library sale nears. With bad blood on all sides here, Rebel is the “successor in interest” to Judge Judy original packager, talent agent Richard Lawrence and his Abrams, Rubaloff & Lawrence firm.
Perhaps in the context of the upcoming Rebel trial, CBS had no comment on the Switzer and Spreckman matter, and representatives for Sheindlin did not respond to request for comment from Deadline. Switzer and the Spreckman trust’s main lawyer Richard Schonfeld of Sin City’s Chesnoff & Schonfeld also did not respond to request for comment on yesterday’s ruling.
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