The Judge Judy show is a home staple and has been since its debut in 1996. The show is about Judge Judy Sheindlin, a former family court judge who presides over small claims cases in a televised courtroom. She has a no-nonsense, brassy, straightforward approach to her rulings and conduct throughout the proceedings. While Judge Judy herself and the entire cast are as entertaining as they come, as several awards will acclaim, the real drama lies in some of the cases she has presided over.
We all know or have heard ridiculous court cases. As you’d expect, Judge Judy is not short of crazy cases that surprise many viewers. Here is a list of 10 of the most shocking Judge Judy cases.
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Every Judge Judy fan knows she’s not a fan of interruptions. Sideshows and interruptions are the best way to get a fine or, even worse, thrown out of the courtroom. But when she tells you to stop interrupting her once, and you do it again, everyone wonders if you are fighting to lose your case.
In this case, Kim Knowler, a motorcycle rental store owner, filed a case against a resident who had rented a motorcycle for three days. Something came up, and the resident canceled his lease. The plaintiff retained the rental fee but wanted compensation for the transaction charges. On the surface, the case was normal. But the shocking thing was the plaintiff’s entitlement and rudeness in court. She kept shouting over the judge despite several warnings.
Even more surprising was the revelation that she had dropped the case but was now suing for NSSF charges and the inconvenience of the case. Judge Judy doesn’t mince her words because she retorts, “I’m not giving you a quarter.”
9 The Fake Case
If you’ve watched enough courtroom drama, you’ve likely questioned the reality or even the possibility of a specific case. Some cases feel too outrageous to be true. But the truth may be even more shocking, as this case will show you. The fake case is about the plaintiff, Kate Levitt, seeking a remedy for the tragic death of her cat. She claimed that her partner started a fight and smashed a TV box, leading to her cat’s untimely demise.
There was no such thing. There was neither a fight with smashed TV boxes nor a dead cat. She made up these events to get a settlement and a free trip to Los Angeles. Usually, a fake case is accompanied by an even better story, but as it turns out, Kate Levitt didn’t get the memo. Her story had too many holes, and most of her timelines were off.
Her partner, the defendant, also didn’t lend much legitimacy to her story. After a few minutes of interrogation, the whole story unraveled. Judge Judy summed up the entire case as a story of a dumb girl.
8 The Horse Counterclaim
If you’ve watched Judge Judy long enough, you know she gives both parties an equal chance to plead their case. But that wasn’t the case for this horse counterclaim, where the defendant, Summer Ruegger, demanded full payment from the plaintiff for one horse. After hearing the basics of the case, Judge Judy swooped in with a remarkably swift dose of justice by declaring that the plaintiff paid the defendant the entire sum of $1400.
The case was about an unpaid balance of the sale of a horse. The plaintiff Caroline claimed she leased her horse to Summer for $100 per month. According to her statement and their agreement, she owed her $1500 for the months she had the horse. The plaintiff directly contradicted her sworn statement, saying she sold the horse for fifteen $100 payments.
After reading the statement in court, Judge Judy quickly declared that the defendant had paid the remaining amount. Much to the people’s surprise in the courtroom, the judge didn’t want to waste time on a clear case. The surprised faces of the participants and everyone in the courtroom were worth a soap opera. Notably, this was one of the judge’s shortest cases.
7 Missing the Dressing
A customer-facing role requires grace and patience. Most days, customer service staff have to prepare to face any situation, from rude customers to those with complicated, entitled, and almost bizarre demands. The plaintiff, in this case, is the actual definition of manufactured problems. One would question how the issue of missing dressing ended up in court. Something that an apology and a complimentary meal would quickly fix.
The plaintiff filed a case after not receiving the extra dressing he ordered from a restaurant. He demanded a full refund, but the restaurant refused to pay. Later, he went back to the restaurant and ordered a meal from them again. Instead of paying for the meal, he snatched the food from the delivery driver’s hand and slammed the car door shut, claiming the restaurant owed him for the previous overlooked dressing.
The restaurant staff, guided by the mantra “you go low, I go lower,” vandalized the plaintiff’s car and home in retaliation. Everyone in the courtroom during these proceedings wondered how a typical restaurant mistake ended up in court. The plaintiff won but was ordered to pay for the meal. A whole $12 deducted from his $223 win!
The internet is awash with hilarious videos of people pushing on “pull” doors and others slamming into glass doors you can barely see. But this is only half as embarrassing as being sent away from a courtroom and the judge yelling “Push” because you don’t know how to open the door.
In this case, the defendant was part of a four-person team. During the proceedings, he started yelling back at the judge, who consequently asked him to respect the court. Seething with anger, the defendant decided to have a “storming away” moment that was not meant to be. He couldn’t tell which way the door opened when he got to the door. He had to glance back at the judge, who yelled, “Push out.”
Now that’s humiliating for a person who wanted a flashy display of anger.
5 The Gasping Woman
Court cases push people to take desperate measures, especially in the face of real monetary consequences. Devesha Thomas was staring at a hefty fine or, worse, a jail sentence due to expired insurance. As a desperate attempt to fake ignorance and mislead the judge, the defendant would let out a bizarre gasp every time the judge pointed out a discrepancy in her story.
It was almost impossible to hear the case as the lady responded to several of the judge’s questions with an exaggerated gasp. Although misguided, these gasps were meant to seek sympathy and paint her as a victim of circumstances. At some point, the judge laughed out loud after the defendant claimed to be unaware of a $900 bill paid by the plaintiff. That’s how much Judge Judy wasn’t buying the loud gasps.
Luckily, Judge Judy wasn’t buying it, and the lady wasn’t as good an actor as she thought. Even though the judge didn’t get the full story because of the lady’s reaction, she got enough to rule the case in favor of the plaintiff. In this case, the “desperate times call for desperate measures” stunt didn’t work in her favor. Still, this case shocked many people in the courtroom and viewers.
4 The Tupperware Assault
Judge Judy is no stranger to courtroom exaggerations, but even she thought the Tupperware assault plaintiff was pushing the envelope in this case. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against her neighbor for assault primarily because the defendant threw Tupperware at her. The judge found it hard to believe and asked the lady to clarify.
The plaintiff gave a live demonstration of exactly what transpired, including how the defendant threw a complete cupboard of Tupperware on her. She also didn’t leave out exaggerated voice acting and variations. It’s hard to believe someone is lying when their acting skills are convincing.
Luckily, the court and anyone who cared to see past the plaintiff’s poor acting skills couldn’t find any merit in the plaintiff’s claim. Part of the crowd was struggling to contain their laughter while Judge Judy couldn’t wait for the end of the dramatic case.
In the end, Judge Judy called the plaintiff unstable but still ruled the case in her favor and awarded her $192 for her broken Tupperware. The case’s main takeaway is there’s something about being televised that awakes the actor in many people. Even those with incredibly poor skills.
Alexandra Nelson and her friends filed an assault case but failed to present enough evidence to support their claim. After interrogation, the judge and the courtroom participants noted that Alexandra was, in fact, the aggressor. She had instigated the assault case to secure payment.
While the case is shocking, the judge was particularly irritated by the lady’s reckless cursing at the defendant. When concluding the case, the judge asked the defendant why she was cursing at the defendant. Alexandra responded with, “because they’re loserds.” Her massacre of the word losers didn’t help her case, nor did her don’t-care attitude throughout the case. The case was ruled in favor of the plaintiff, awarded $4,000.
2 You’re a Moron
This is one of the cases where Judge Judy’s intensity and abrasiveness came into full display. She used the term moron liberally throughout the case to describe the defendant Cathleen Kreftmeyer. The case was a divorce proceeding after the defendant fell out with her husband. While many courtrooms are not new to harsh words, fights, and insults, Judge Judy was particularly aggrieved by the defendant’s decision to inform her six-year daughter that she was an illegitimate child.
The defendant stated her decision to inform her child of her paternal situation was because “she didn’t believe in keeping secrets from her children.” The judge and the jury were shocked at the mother’s callousness and lack of consideration for her daughter’s mental and emotional well-being. The judge also felt the lady’s reaction was to spite the husband and not to ease their daughter into their divorce situation.
Even though the story was true, the judge believed the child didn’t deserve to hear this information under those circumstances. She made her feelings clear by calling the defendant a moron, to her face, three times. Judge Judy concluded the case by saying the defendant is a good example of why people should take tests before having children.
Bitter exchanges are not new to Judge Judy but considering this episode was aired in 1996, her tone and clear spite for the defendant shocked many viewers.
1 Venison Will Get You Nowhere
In this shocking Judge Judy case, the plaintiff filed a suit against her sister because she took her car like she did several times before but, this time, crashed and killed a deer. The defendant claimed she did nothing wrong because she had taken the car several times before, and the plaintiff didn’t raise any concerns.
Despite the car crash, she felt the sister was taking matters too far. The case itself may raise eyebrows by the most shocking occurrence was the defendant’s response after Judge Judy asked what happened to the deer. The defendant claimed she ate it and gave the plaintiff some. Nothing is far-fetched for a courtroom but killing a deer in a car crash and then eating and offering your sister some as a peace offering is one for the books. Even worse is looking unfazed while making that shocking admission.
Even though the car was damaged in the crash and there was a dead deer, the defendant couldn’t understand why everyone, including the sister, was making a big deal out of the situation. It’s just a car crash. The good news is that Judge Judy understood the situation’s gravity and awarded the plaintiff $4,000 in damages.