Television's Judge Judy alleges unauthorized use of her image in ads for Connecticut law firm

The Associated Press

In this Tuesday, April 17, 2012 photo, Judge Judy Sheindlin attends the Vanity Fair Tribeca Film Festival party at the State Supreme Courthouse, in New York. Sheindlin has filed a lawsuit accusing a Connecticut personal-injury lawyer of using her image in advertisements without her permission. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Television's Judge Judy filed a lawsuit Wednesday against a Connecticut personal-injury lawyer, alleging that he used her image without authorization in advertisements that falsely suggested she had endorsed his firm.

The lawsuit filed in federal court seeks more than $75,000 in damages from Hartford attorney John Haymond and his firm.

Judith Sheindlin, a retired Family Court judge who has starred in "Judge Judy" for 18 years, said this is the first time she has filed a lawsuit against anyone. She said the unauthorized use of her name and image is "outrageous" and requires action.

"Mr. Haymond is a lawyer and should know better," Sheindlin said in a written statement.

Haymond's office said he was away on vacation and not immediately available to comment.

The lawsuit said that without Sheindlin's permission, Haymond's firm aired television advertisements combining footage from "Judge Judy" along with clips showing Haymond and his daughters. It said the advertisements aired in Connecticut and Massachusetts during broadcasts of her show, and continued even after Sheindlin's producer told the firm in March 2013 that use of her image was not permitted.

"By trading, without consent or authorization, on Sheindlin's well-known persona, the Haymond Defendants have irreparably harmed and damaged Sheindlin's hard-earned professional and artistic reputation, dignity, and prestige," the lawsuit says.

Sheindlin said in her statement that any money she wins through the lawsuit will go toward college scholarships through the Her Honor Mentoring Program.

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