Judith Sheindlin
Judith Sheindlin ()

A Hartford personal injury lawyer is trying to turn the tables on television’s “Judge Judy.”

John Haymond and his Haymond Law Firm recently filed a counterclaim against Judith Sheindlin, who stars on the syndicated daytime television series. This past March, Sheindlin had sued Haymond and his law firm, claiming they unlawfully used Sheindlin’s image in the firm’s television and internet advertising.

Haymond, who is represented by Craig Raabe and Jamie Landry of Robinson & Cole, has fired back in his own complaint that Sheindlin falsely accused him of willful and wrongful conduct. He characterized a public comment that Sheindlin made about her lawsuit against him as an “extrajudicial, malicious public statement about the pending litigation,” and denied that he missappropriated her image.

Instead, Haymond said the advertisements in question were promotions for the “Judge Judy” show, and created by one of the TV stations that airs the program, and not by him. Haymond acknowledged that he was “happy” at the time to be included in the commercials.

“The counterclaim plaintiffs had no creative input into the Judge Judge promotions,” Haymond argues in the countersuit.

Sheindlin’s lawsuit accused Haymond, whose ads are readily visible on billboards around Connecticut, with violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, and for appropriation of likeness and appropriation of the right of publicity under Connecticut state law.

The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in New Haven on Sheindlin’s behalf by Wiggin and Dana lawyers James Glasser and Kevin Smith, also makes a federal law claim of false endorsement. Smith said they would not comment on a pending lawsuit or counterclaim.

In a prepared statement distributed by a New York-based public relations firm when her lawsuit was filed, Scheindlin said: “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.”

According to Sheindlin’s complaint, 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.

The television ads, which were broadcast on stations in Connecticut and Massachussetts, showed clips of Sheindlin taken from “Judge Judy,” alternated with images of Haymond and his daughters. The advertisements were “edited to imply that Sheindlin actually is interacting with Mr. Haymond,” according to the initial suit.

It will be up to U.S. District Judge Michael Shea in New Haven to decide whether the advertisements were promotions for the “Judge Judy” show or Haymond’s firm. A hearing is scheduled for next month.

In a prepared statement after Sheindlin filed her lawsuit, Haymond said the whole thing is a misunderstanding. He insisted a TV station approached him to promote the “Judge Judy” show, not the other way around.

“I was shocked to learn that Judge Judy filed a lawsuit against me for the very promotions for which I endorsed her,” he said. “It had always been my understanding that the promotions were properly authorized.” •