Most of us are quite familiar with the show courtroom program that stars the family court judge; Judy Sheindlin. In each episode of the show, Judge Judy presides over a real small-claims case within the confines of her televised courtroom. But did you know about the case of the fake dead cat?
In 2010, a group of friends fabricated a case to bring on the show. While the people in the show are real, the production company actually pays an arbitration award. The group wanted to get a free trip to Los Angeles and $1,500.
The Story of the Fake Case
Back in 2010, the Judge Judy segment featured four friends in a dispute over smashed televisions and a dead cat. Unfortunately, the whole case was made up by the group of friends who filed the dispute. Their reason? A free trip to Los Angeles and a cash-out from the Judge Judy producers.
The case was quite far-fetched. Jonathan Coward, one of the roommates, apparently got wasted at Kate’s house and smashed two television sets that belonged to her. One of the TVs landed on her pet cat, Trips, instantly killing it.
Absolutely none of it was true. Once they agreed to put us on the show, we realized that we needed to take roles and not have this be something that was completely see-through. There were tensions at our house, so a slight amount of it was real.Jonathan Coward
Why Did They Even Have the Idea to Contact the Show?
Coward explained in an interview that his friend Kate came up with the idea. She just moved up to New York from Baltimore and was in need for a quick buck. Some of their friends who went to Judge Joe Brown back in the 90s told them that the show would often pay the settlement.
Well, my friend Kate, who was the plaintiff, had just moved up to New York from Baltimore, and she asked me what a quick way to make money was. I had some friends who went on Judge Joe Brown back in the late 90s. They were on there for some sort of roommate dispute. And they told me that the show pays the settlement.Jonathan Coward
What Was The Real Case?
The friends decided to come up with a story for the producers of Judge Judy for a free trip to Los Angeles and a settlement. The group tried to find an excellent way to catch their attention, and Coward thought of the cat. They needed something believable and entertaining to be noticed. Once they got their stories straight, Kate went ahead and emailed the show.
So I told her we could come up with some story for Judge Judy, and we would probably get the settlement and a free trip to LA, because we knew that’s where they shot. So we tried to think of a story that was absurd, something that would be good television. So I just threw out the idea of the cat thing, just off the top of my head. The whole point was that we need to have a story that’s entertaining, but also involves damaged property. I was aware that the cap for small claims was around four grand. Kate got real excited about it and emailed the show straight away. And they got back to her and were interested in doing it.Jonathan Coward
Watch the episode here.