HARTFORD (CN) - A Hartford personal injury attorney claims in court that television's "Judge Judy" had it all wrong when she accused him and his law firm of using her show in a commercial without her permission.
Back in March, Judith Sheindlin, who plays Judge Judy on the syndicated daytime TV series, sued John Haymond and his Haymond Law Firm, claiming they used her image without permission in a commercial for the firm.
Haymond fired back in June with a countersuit, claiming he had been asked to use the footage in the commercial by the television stations that helped create it.
"The local stations proposed that the promotional advertisements would be cooperative advertising in which the stations would promote the 'Judge Judy' show for their benefit, and presumably for the benefit of Sheindlin and her syndicator, by using John Haymond's persona, and John Haymond would promote his own brand," according to the June 4 Answer, Defense and Counterclaims. "On information and belief, the local stations proposed this cooperative advertising in order to reduce their production costs for promoting the 'Judge Judy' show."
Haymond said he's a "fan of the 'Judge Judy' television show" and was "happy" with the cooperative advertising arrangement.
In her original complaint
, Sheindlin said she refrained for 18 years from personal endorsements. She claimed then that Haymond's "use of her likeness is particularly egregious and damaging because Sheindlin has deliberately chosen not to endorse any products or services unrelated to the 'Judge Judy' series."
But Haymond says that her claims are baseless, and Sheindlin "maliciously" defamed him through a statement issued by her public relations firm in March.
"In her public statement, Sheindlin stated, '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. 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,'" Haymond says in his counterclaim.
Haymond seeks punitive damages, costs and attorneys' fees.
Sheindlin seeks disgorgement of profits, an injunction against any more broadcasts, and punitive damages for false endorsement, deceptive trade, and misappropriation of her likeness and publicity rights.
U.S. District Judge Michael Shea will hear arguments in the complaint in November.
Haymond is represented by Craig Raabe and Jamie Landry, with of Robinson & Cole, of Hartford.