With $95 Million On The Line, Judge Judy’s Massive Lawsuit Just Took A Turn

While the two year old lawsuit against Judge Judy and CBS has been dismissed, plaintiffs Rebel Entertainment are confident they can get the dismissal reversed.

By Douglas Helm | Published

The two-year-old Judge Judy lawsuit between Judith Sheindlin and CBS against Rebel Entertainment Partners seems to be coming to a close — at least for now. Rebel Entertainment Partners has claimed they are owed more than $5 million for the $95 million sale of the Judge Judy catalog in 2017, but Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kristin S. Escalante recently granted a motion to dismiss the case. While this seems like it might be the end, Rebel’s representatives have expressed confidence that the court of appeals will turn the case back in their favor.

According to Freedman and Taitelman, the representatives for Rebel Entertainment Partners, they have found clear evidence that CBS’s financial records indicate a sale of the Judge Judy library. This seems like it will be Rebel’s last chance to get the case to turn back in their favor. If the appeal is dismissed, CBS and Sheindlin will officially be done with the lawsuit for good.

Judge Judy ran for 25 seasons and over 6,000 episodes. The series featured former Manhattan Family Court Judge Judith Sheindlin as she used her dry approach and biting wit to settle small claims disputes in an arbitrage court. Sheindlin and CBS for a final time in 2017 and ended the series in 2021, though CBS has a contract to air reruns until 2023.

This lawsuit wouldn’t be the first time that Rebel Entertainment Partners has pursued legal action against Judge Judy. In 2016, the company and its president, Richard Lawrence, filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit that claimed CBS failed to pay them their share of the show’s profits. The lawsuit went on to say the show had been operating at a loss due to grossly overpaying Sheindlin after she received an annual salary boost from $45 to $47 million.

judge judy
Judith Sheindlin, aka Judge Judy

That case reached a verdict in 2018 when Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joanne O’Donnell ruled that Judge Judy wasn’t overpaid. O’Donnell did, however, partially rule in favor of the portion of the lawsuit that claimed Lawrence should have been consulted about launching the spin-off series Hot Bench. Rebel and their representatives were not happy with this result and appealed.

This lawsuit finally came to a close when CBS reached a settlement agreement with Rebel in 2020. Of course, this wouldn’t be the end of the Judge Judy and Rebel Entertainment court saga, as they would file this most recent lawsuit over the $5 million they feel they’re owed from the alleged sale of the Judge Judy library. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see how the appeal goes for Rebel Entertainment and their representatives or if this lawsuit is definitely done for good.

Presumably, Judge Judy herself will be free from future lawsuits involving Rebel Entertainment Partners, since she has a new show on the Amazon-owned streaming platform Freevee. Her new show Judy Justice follows a similar format with Sheindlin adjudicating real-life small claims disputes. Judy Justice was picked up for a first season with 120 episodes and was recently renewed for a second season that is set to air sometime in Fall 2022.