Judge Judy Sheindlin scored a monster payday last year, when she sold her show’s library to CBS for a reported $95 million to $100 million.
Now TV’s highest-paid performer is being sued for allegedly withholding a portion of the proceeds — $4.75 million — from two producers who helped launch the program more than two decades ago.
The producers, Kaye Switzer and Sandi Spreckman, have been to court several times before to enforce their rights to the program. The issue even went to trial in 2000, and has been subject to various settlements.
The controversy has now outlived Spreckman, who died in 2009. On Friday, Switzer and Spreckman’s estate filed suit in L.A. Superior Court, alleging they were denied their rightful 5% stake in the sale of the library last year.
Sheindlin obtained the rights to the library in an earlier negotiation with Big Ticket Entertainment and CBS. Sheindlin shopped the rights around before selling the library back to CBS for the reported $95 million.
The lawsuit names Sheindlin, Big Ticket and CBS as defendants, and seeks to recover the $4.75 million from them.
Richard Lawrence, who served as the agent for Switzer and Spreckman, also has a pending lawsuit. He contends that his share of the proceeds of the show dried up after 2010 because CBS and Big Ticket awarded Sheindlin an absurdly generous salary.