If some of the cases on Judge Judy appear too crazy to be real it’s because some are faked or exaggerated. This came to light when former participants on the show admitted that they invented their entire case in order to receive settlement money that the show pays (in this case it was $1250, plus a $250 appearance fee), and get a free trip to Los Angeles. Speaking with VICE, the phony lawsuit participants said the Judge Judy production team doesn’t get too in depth in their background checks, so, if the story sounds good, they’ll invite you on.
So, Johnathan Coward (above) and his friends, Kate and Brian, came up with a “story that was absurd, something that would be good television,” and the producers liked it so much they brought them out to LA.
“The thing that was really funny about it was that, in some way, I think the producer knew that it was bulls**t,” Coward told VICE. “Because the night before we were leaving, she called me and was like, ‘You know, you guys can comp your meals from when you get in, just save your receipts. But if you guys have receipts for the same restaurant, the whole thing is off.’ In this sort of wink-nudge way.”
But it wasn’t all fake. Apparently, Judge Judy was so intimidating, she made a real impact on the plaintiff. “I mean, she really shook Kate,” Coward said. “She actually made Kate cry.”