Television star Judge Judy filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday, charging Hartford attorney John Haymond with using her image in advertisements for his firm without her permission.
The lawsuit filed by Judith Sheindlin, whose show has been broadcast since 1996, is seeking more than $75,000 in damages from Haymond.
The lawsuit claims that despite being notified in 2013 by Sheindlin’s producers that the advertisements weren’t permitted, Haymond continued to run ads on television and on the Internet depicting a likeness of Judge Judy seemingly interacting with Haymond and his daughters.
“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,” Sheindlin said in a statement issued by a New York public relations firm.
The lawsuit alleges that the ads falsely imply that Judge Judy endorses or is somehow affiliated with Haymond’s law firm. It charges Haymond with false endorsement under federal law and violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.
Haymond could not be reached for comment Wednesday. A secretary from his office said he was on vacation.
Haymond is a personal injury lawyer based in Hartford, whose ubiquitous advertisements appear on television stations, on the side of buses and on the radio. The advertisements that Sheindlin is complaining about ran on television stations in New Haven, Hartford and Springfield, the suit charges.
“As a former judge with more than a decade of experience on the bench, I have chosen for all of these years on television to maintain my reputation by not endorsing other people’s products and services, despite many offers to do so, because I believe that it is inconsistent with my judicial career,” Sheindlin said.
“Without seeking my authorization or consent, Mr. Haymond has taken that choice away from me for his own personal gain. I cannot tolerate that, and intend to hold Mr. Haymond financially responsible for his actions.”
In her statement, the judge said that any proceeds from the lawsuit will be donated to the judge’s Her Honor Mentoring Program, which gives out college scholarships.
By Dave Altimari, Hartford Courant.