Judge Judy Sheindlin has decided not to move forward with her $22 million countersuit against talent agent Richard Lawrence and Rebel Entertainment Partners following a ruling against her last month that gave her 30 days to file an amended complaint in a lengthy dispute over series profits and the origin of the popular syndicated show.
"We decline to file an amended complaint as Mr. Lawrence has insisted that I join Big Ticket (CBS) as a defendant," Sheindlin told Deadline Friday morning of her decision. "The court has declined to rule that CBS is not a necessary party." Sheindlin, who is being represented by Lavely & Singer in her suit, said that Lawrence was the "culprit in this fiasco of a packaging deal which has netted him" $22 million. "CBS inherited this deal. I have been in business with CBS for 20 years. I’m not suing them when they are not the wrongdoer," she continued. "Sometimes justice gets lost in the weeds of legalese gobbledygook. This is one of those times. Sad."
In August, the popular TV judge sued Lawrence and his Rebel Entertainment Partners after he had originally sued CBS’ Big Ticket Entertainment in an argument over series profits and then also sued the company and Sheindlin over library sale profits. The Hollywood Reporter stated at the time that Rebel Entertainment Partners was the successor-in-interest to the company that originally packaged Judge Judy, which it argued made it party to the show's profits. However, Sheindlin argued that Lawrence did not represent her, and therefore didn't actually package the show. She pointed to two non-writing producers, Kaye Switzer and Sandi Spreckman, as the people who initially suggested she take her judge talents to the TV, arguing that Lawrence was therefore not entitled to the $22 million in fees collected from the show.
Lawrence's attorneys then argued that Sheindlin did not have the ground to challenge his contract's validity, as she was not a party to it, claiming it was outside the statute of limitations either way. In February, L.A. County Superior Court Judge Richard J. Burdge Jr. agreed with Lawrence's attorneys and sustained their motion with leave to amend. Sheindlin was then left with 30 days to amend her complaint to something she had a standing on, which she ultimately decided not to move forward with.
Disclosure: PopCulture is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.