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Series / The People's Court

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What you are about to witness is real. The participants ARE NOT ACTORS. They are the actual people who have already either filed suit or been served a summons to appear in a California Municipal Court. Both the Plaintiffs and the Defendants have agreed to dismiss their court cases and have their disputes settled here... in our forum... The People's Court!
Original opening narration Current version 

The Ur-Example of the judge talk show, The People's Court had its pilot episode taped in October 1980 and premiered on September 14, 1981 when Judge Joseph Wapner took the court to the TV. The premise is that two parties, a plaintiff and a defendant, that would otherwise take their cases to small claims court would instead agree to have their case settled on television by Judge Wapner. After the verdict was given, each side would be interviewed by host and court reporter Doug Llewelyn, who would often end the show with the Catchphrase "If you and another party find yourselves at loggerheads, and you can't work things out, don't take the law into your own hands: you take 'em to court." On the other hand, if a case ended with a verdict for the defendant, Llewelyn would instead end the episode by saying "If someone files a lawsuit against you and yet you're convinced you're not guilty, that you've done nothing wrong, don't be intimidated. The best policy, as always, is to stand up for your rights: go to court." The show's other two regulars were bailiff Rusty Burrell and announcer Jack Harrell. The show was created by John Masterson, who previously created and executive produced Queen for a Day. It was executive produced by Ralph Edwards, who previously created, executive produced, and hosted Truth or Consequences, and his production partner, Stu Billett. Both men packaged the show under their own separate eponymous production companies, Ralph Edwards Productions and Stu Billett Productions, until 1987, when the companies merged. The show was originally distributed by Telepictures until 1986, when that company merged with Lorimar, creating Lorimar-Telepictures. Lorimar-Telepictures continued to distribute until 1989, when it was purchased by Warner Bros., who continued to distribute until the show's cancellation in 1993.

After Judge Judy started the judge show revival in 1996, one of the first shows on the block was a revival of The People's Court, which premiered in 1997. Once again, the show was produced by Ralph Edwards-Stu Billett Productions and distributed by Warner Bros.. Former New York City mayor Ed Koch initially took the bench for the first two years, then was replaced by Jerry Sheindlin (husband of Judge Judy). He was replaced by Marilyn Milian in 2001, who presides over the court today. The bailiff during the Koch-Sheindlin years was Josephine Ann Longobardi. After Milian took the bench, she was replaced by Davy Jones, who only lasted relatively briefly and was in turn replaced by Douglas MacIntosh. Curt Chaplin took over the interview duties and became the new announcer, while host Harvey Levin, who worked on the Wapner version as the show's legal consultant, explains the legalese behind the judges' decisions while polling fans gathered outdoors. In 2016, as part of the show's 35th Anniversary, Doug Llewelyn returned as interviewer. Curt Chaplin, however, remains with the program as the show's announcer.

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Season 24 has a few differences. Milian and the litigants communicate through Zoom, with only Douglas in the courtroom, with Llewelyn stationed next to the logo sign in the hallway. Levin continues to provide commentary from his office at TMZ headquarters in Los Angeles, although his banter with viewers in the Third Street Promenade has been replaced by having viewers send in legal questions for him to answer, and a new segment called “After the Verdict” was added, showing Milian and her husband, John Schlesinger (a real judge in his own right) discussing the verdict of the case. The intro was changed as well, with Chaplin narrating an altered version of the disclaimer, represented by scrolling text as in the Wapner and Koch eras, though they reverted to the standard intro a few weeks into the season; it was altered later on to use footage from Zoom cases.

On February 17, 2023, it was announced that the current incarnation would end after 26 seasons. The final episode aired on July 21, 2023.

The original is best known nowadays for being the favorite program of Raymond Babbit.

This show provides examples of:

  • Berserk Button: While Judge Milian is generally nicer and less abrasive than her rival Judge Judy, it seems to take less to trigger Judge Milian's Berserk Button than it does Judge Judy's. Particularly, she'll get upset when she senses that a litigant is lying, and has said that she is personally offended by liars in court because she feels that they are underestimating her.
    Judge Milian: [in one early case] Boy, I hate being underestimated. There is nothing more insulting than being underestimated.
    Douglas: I've never underestimated you.
    Judge Milian: I know. That's why you're still working here.
    Judge Milian: [later in the same case, after unleashing on the defendant] GOD, do I hate being underestimated! It is SO insulting! It is so - he [the defendant] thinks... [makes a paper airplane out of defendant's faked evidence and throws it as audience laughs] ...that I have absolutely NO brains in my head!
    • While Judge Milian doesn't have nearly as many Berserk Buttons as Judge Judy in regard to the way litigants speak and present themselves, she hates it when litigants call her "Miss" instead of "Judge" or "Your Honor."
    Judge Milian: If I were a male judge, you wouldn't call me "buddy," would you? So please call me "Judge" and not "Miss."
    • In a case aired February 8, 2018, the plaintiff was suing her ex-girlfriend's daughter and daughter's fiancee for past due rent, among other things. When the plaintiff kept trying to interject during Judge Milian's ruling and the judge ordered her to be quiet, the plaintiff accused the judge of homophobia. Judge Milian overheard this comment and tore into the plaintiff while throwing her out of court and ultimately dismissing her case.
    Plaintiff: It's a sexuality thing.
    Judge Milian: No, it's NOT. And I resent that! And you know what? Get out of my courtroom. Get out. I resent that, not only because I have family members who would be very offended by what you just said. Get out of here and stop playing victim. [to herself] How dare she.
    • While far less common during the Judge Wapner (1981-1993) era, it was not unheard of for Wapner to get upset if a litigant was outright lying, broke the law, engaged in neglect or otherwise violated a code of ethics. More than once, both litigants drew Wapner's ire and – in calling both out on their bad behavior – he would dismiss both the plaintiff's claim and defendant's countersuit, calling it a "$0, $0." He also didn't take kindly to members of the courtroom gallery acting disrespectfully in court; more than once, he warned several observers who were snickering at one of the litigants' testimony, and it was not unheard of for him to ask Rusty to throw an observer out for repeatedly ignoring Wapner's directives to be quiet.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': As mentioned below, whenever litigants forget that Judge Milian is fluent in Spanish and try to curse her out or make snide comments thinking she can't understand. In addition, on one occasion, a defendant's witness openly threatened the plaintiff in court in Spanish, yelling that she was going to bust the plaintiff's face in. Of course, Her Honor caught this and admonished the witness right away.
    • As with Judge Judy, there have also been some instances in which Judge Milian has announced to a litigant who has gotten away with some wrongdoing that she would be referring the case to local law enforcement after the fact.
      • Also as with Judge Judy, one of said cases involved an Ebay scammer - the twist being that the scammer was a 16-year-old boy. The judge told him just before ruling against him, "If I were you I'd be waiting for the knock on the door, pal, because you are going to GET IT." The boy's mother subsequently fled the courtroom in tears, refusing to stop to talk to the court reporter (Curt Chaplin).
  • Catchphrase:
    • Doug Llewelyn closing out each episode, "Don't take the law into your own hands. Take them to court."note 
    • Judge Wapner, when greeting the litigants: "I know you've all been sworn and I have read your complaint."
    • Harvey Levin, after explaining the summary of the reason behind the verdict: "And that will do it for this case; litigants for the next case on their way into the courtroom right now."
    • Like Judge Judy, Marilyn Milian has her own set of catch phrases:
      • "Did I breathe and give you the impression I was done speaking?"
      • "You redefine chutzpah!"
      • "We have a name for people like you. We call them litigants."note 
      • Various Spanish sayings part of Her Honor's Cuban-American heritage, as noted below.
      • "Who am I gonna believe, you or my lying eyes?"
      • "I wouldn't believe you if your tongue came notarized."
      • "NOT here! NOT today! And NOT in my courtroom!"
      • "You need to come to court with more than your flapping gums."note 
      • "You're trying to ching, ching, let that cash register ring."note 
      • "If everyone can stop playing 'quien es mas macho', we wouldn't be here."
      • "Say it, forget it; write it, regret it."note 
      • "Good luck, folks."note 
  • Celebrity Cameo: Wally George was the defendant in an episode of the original Wapner version, being sued by one of his guests who claimed that Wally offered to pay his travel expenses, but didn't do so. Wapner ruled in favor of George (and had to remind the constantly interrupting George just whose show he was on).
    • The Coasters also appeared as defendants in one case, being sued by a promoter. Wapner found in favor of the group.
  • invokedDude, Not Funny!: At least once in the original Wapner version – the case involved some sensitive issues – a small number of observers were chuckling at one of the litigant's answers. Wapner paused and (sternly) told the observers to knock it off or he'd have them escorted out.
    • In a March 2018 episode, Judge Milian ejected a defendant from the courtroom for laughing during her ruling.
  • Couch Gag: The episodes produced during COVID-19 have intros showing a rotation of footage from various Zoom cases.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • In addition to the judge-bailiff turnover, Levin originally had a co-host, Carol Martin, who previously was an anchor at New York City TV station WCBS. Unlike Levin, however, Martin hosted from a studio.
    • The set used in Koch's first season was a near-exact replica of Wapner's set. It was remodeled into its current form in his second and final season.
    • Chaplin originally narrated with a normal voice instead of an exaggerated one.
    • In the original series, the first couple of seasons saw most of the cases being simple arbitrations, with rather bland, dull cases being heard. At least one episode – likely from the fall of 1981 – uploaded to video sharing websites was a simple dry cleaning dispute. In most of these cases, the litigants simply answered the judge's questions and did not try to interrupt or call the other litigant names, etc. Wapner rarely if ever accused litigants of outright lying, although he would call them on testimony he thought didn't seem to fit the evidence, and he would point out whether the lack of crucial evidence (such as, in one case, a piece of bone found on a pizza) would hurt their case. When the judge delivered his decision, the litigants – except to answer a direct question – simply listened respectfully, and while some of the litigants were understandably disappointed with the outcome, they generally accepted Wapner's decision in good stride or chalked it up as a lesson learned.
  • End-of-Series Awareness: The last five minutes of the 2023 finale acknowledged that the show was ending. Harvey Levin and executive producer David Scott reminisced over the series' influence and paid tribute to Stu Billett, who had passed in 2021. The last scene saw Judge Milian get up from the desk, walk across the empty set, and turn the lights off as she left.
  • Epic Fail / Too Dumb to Live: For one Wapner-era plaintiff. Said plaintiff sued a store owner for $5000. The reason? The plaintiff had bought a candy bar from the defendant's store, took a bite, and found maggots inside. The store owner had offered to either refund the plaintiff's money or replace the candy bar, but the indignant plaintiff insisted that the store would be hearing from his lawyer, because the store had sold him a product that could have made him sick. Wapner got the plaintiff to testify that he ultimately did not consume any of the candy bar and, therefore, did not become sick. Still, the plaintiff kept insisting that the store owner was to be held accountable for the tainted candy bar and practically accused the man of willfully trying to poison him and other people. Wapner did find for the plaintiff... in the amount of 50 cents, the cost of the candy bar.
    • This, to date, is the smallest award ever paid out in show history. Though the store owner technically lost, he understandably felt vindicated by the ruling.
      • Judge Milian had a similar case years later involving a woman who sued a restaurant for $5,000 in emotional distress after finding a small rock in her salad. This time, the plaintiff's case was completely dismissed.
    • And any time someone makes a rude comment in Spanish, thinking that Judge Milian won't understand them.
    • One case involved a plaintiff suing for a refund on an iPhone he bought on eBay that he claimed was stolen and defective, while the defendant claimed he originally bought the phone from another person. However, it turns out the plaintiff didn't have the phone in his possession while in the courtroom, so Judge Milian would not award him his money until the phone showed up. Unhappy with the ruling, he cursed under his breath, thinking the judge wouldn't hear him. But she did. And she amended the judgment by giving him one day to return the phone if he wanted his money back.
    Plaintiff: That's bull[censored].
    Judge Milian: [turning around midway to her chambers and walking back to the bench] What'd you say? What'd you say?
    Plaintiff: I just think this is ridiculous.
    Judge Milian: What'd you say? Say it again! Say what you said again! Say what you said exactly. SAY WHAT YOU SAID AGAIN.
    Plaintiff: I think this is bull[censored].
    Judge Milian: [after a moment of silence] You have twenty-four hours to bring the phone personally to the courthouse. That's how long you have if you want those $650. [walks back to her chambers]
    Plaintiff: This is not a fair trial.
  • Every Episode Ending: Since at least 2015, every episode ends with a large graphic and voiceover announcing "DON'T TEXT AND DRIVE!" It was added after a People's Court staffer lost her child to an accident involving a texting driver.
  • Every Episode Opening: "This is the plaintiff..." "This is the defendant...he's accused of (insert horrible pun here)." "(Insert page quote here)". Bailiff: "All rise, the honorable judge (current judge here) presiding." Judge: "You may be seated."
    • Marilyn Milian era, post-opening credits: Bailiff to all: "Be seated and come to order." Bailiff to Milian: "Litigants have been sworn in, your honor." Milian: "Thank you, Douglas!"
  • Everything Is Racist: Circa 2003, an elderly couple sued for alleged damage to their awning by a bottle rocket, charging their neighbors with anti-Semitism and claiming they had done it on purpose. It turned out that the plaintiffs had a track record of making baseless claims of anti-Semitism against neighbors - they had called the police on the defendants no fewer than 58 times, and had done the same in previous neighborhoods, alleging anti-Semitism with each call. The defendants had filed a counterclaim for one dollar, which was more about sending a message than anything else. Judge Milian skewered the plaintiffs for filing a frivolous complaint and for taking her time and attention away from legitimate cases, before dismissing their case and ruling for the defendant for double the amount he'd sued for - $2.
    Judge Milian: You said in your complaint and in your testimony, "They hate us because we're Jewish," and I take very seriously someone playing the race card in my courtroom! ... IT UPSETS ME! Because I AM NOT SPORT! I AM BUSY! I have real cases with people who have real problems!
  • Frivolous Lawsuit: A woman sued a landscaping business over one of their workers allegedly weed whacking her Asiatic Black Wizard lilies that her friend planted. When the defendant gave his side of the story, along with his evidence, the plaintiff constantly stared him down. Judge Milian examined written accounts of the plaintiff's questionable behavior, which the latter of course denied doing. Funnily enough, the plaintiff also stated she suggested the landscaper go to the library to learn what a flower was. The fact that the flowers were on the plaintiff's HOA's property and not her own cost her the entire case.
    Judge Milian: [reading the landscaper's account of the altercation between him and the plaintiff] "She came out of her house, screamed at me to get over here, and then she started calling me a [censored]ing dumbass [plaintiff winces back in shock and looks at her friend] and not knowing information and taking a job I don't know how to do, at the tip top of her lungs when she proceeded to push me after that. She said, "If the company won't do something about this, I will." And I proceeded to walk away to avoid further conflict." [to the defendant] I mean, he doesn't describe it as she touches him to get his attention. He describes it as "she pushes me after she's yelling at me." [continues reading] "I proceeded to walk away to avoid further conflict. When I turned around I took two steps back, she threw the flower at me, and the whole time during this situation I apologized, kept my head down, told her I was sorry, but she yelled."
    • Then the defendant states that the police were called to the scene to de-escalate the situation at hand, much to the plaintiff's chagrin.
    Judge Milian: That kinda escalated the situation, didn't it? You didn't like that the police were called.
    Plaintiff: I was shocked!
    Judge Milian: Well, according to him, you PUSHED him! And you threw flowers at him! According to him, you just... [emulates throwing said flowers] THREW a flower up in the air, so I'm havin' a little bit of difficulty with that, so why wouldn't you expect the police to be called?
    • The madness doesn't end there, though. The defendant presents another nugget of evidence which amuses the judge.
    Judge Milian: [reading another account, this time of the plaintiff's phone call to the defendant's business] "She would like to weed whack the kid that cut her flowers [plaintiff winces again] and weed whack Bill for hiring someone with no brains. The head of South Village doesn't care and is a liar." [to the defendant] That's the homeowners' association?
    Defendant: Correct, your honor.
    Judge Milian: Okay. She's taking notes of everything you said during your calls. [continues reading] "She's making pineapple upside down cake for employee at a price chopper because that's what she does when she gets good service. [plaintiff winces yet again] She could die before she sees another lily bloom. She expects a call today. When will we replace her bushes?"
    • The plaintiff obviously wasn't afraid to express her frustration after the verdict, going so far as to bring religion into her argument. You can tell Doug was at least slightly nervous when interviewing her.
    Plaintiff: [to the defendant, after the judge rules against her] Liar. God'll get you.
    Doug: So the plaintiff fails in her bid to get $5000...
    Plaintiff: I don't care about the money. It's not the money, it's what he did, and he lied in court. But God'll get to him. That's on his shoulders, not mine. And the young man.
    Doug: What did he lie about?
    Plaintiff: About me shoving him. I would never do that. I never used any profanity against that young man, or him. I never met him until today.
    Doug: Alright, one other question, I never heard you discuss. Will the lilies grow back?
    Plaintiff: No, they did not grow back.
    Doug: You can plant more though, right?
    Plaintiff: But not – those are very rare. Wizard Black lilies.
    Doug: You never established the value. Where do you get so much money for – I mean, how much of the cost to plant the lilies?
    Plaintiff: Go online. Go online and look.
    Doug: No, I'm asking you.
    Plaintiff: I – they're, like, twenty-six dollars.
    Doug: [chuckling] How do you build that suit for $5000?
    Plaintiff: It's not – I didn't care about the money. It's the point to get him in here to tell the truth, and he did not tell the truth, I did. And that's all I care about 'cause God knows the truth.
  • Get Out!: Like Judge Judy, Judge Milian won't hesitate to throw out a litigant who tries to talk over her too much, repeatedly ignores her instructions to be quiet, or blatantly disrespects the proceedings.
    • In a case aired ca. Spring 2007 a landlord who wouldn't give the deposit back to his former tenants was very picky about how he was addressed by the judge. After he told her to watch herself she threw him out of the courtroom.
      Milian: "You make this purchase it's supposed to be a happy day in your life, this is like financial security for quite some time, and instead you gotta you gotta jerk around with this for the next year".
      Defendant: Watch yourself your honor.
      Milian: GET OUT OF MY COURTROOM. GET OUT. NO. Oh no He's not moving fast enough Douglas.
      Defendant: If Douglas touches me you will not be happy your honor.
      Milian: You know what if Douglas BEATS YOU to a pulp I'll be delighted. Get out.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Judge Milian is Latina, and often offers dichos (sayings or proverbs) from her Cuban-America heritage as part of her cross-examinations.
    • "Un clavo saca el otro clavo." ("One nail drives out the other.")
    • "Lo barato sale caro." ("The cheap becomes expensive.")
    • "Me pica que, me rasca aqui." ("It itches me here but you scratch me there." Said to a litigant who is not answering the judge's question directly.)
    • "Toma chocolate, paga lo que debes." ("If you order a hot chocolate, pay for it." In other words, if you received a service, you pay for it. Judge Milian's equivalent of Judge Judy's "You ate the steak.")
    • "Mas sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo." ("The devil knows more from being old than from being the devil.")
    • "Sabes nadar sin mojarse la ropa." ("You know how to swim without getting your clothes wet." In other words, you're slick.)
    • "Un arroz con mango." ("A rice with mango. You don't know where the rice begins and the mango ends." Used for a situation that is highly confusing.)
  • Hello, Attorney!: Marilyn Milian is 61 years old, looks like she's twenty years younger, and is gorgeous.
  • Mama Bear: As the mother of young daughters, Milian will not hold back on a litigant who's actions caused a young girl to get hurt in some way.
  • Mythology Gag: The hallway that the litigants enter the courtroom from and exit to features framed photos of all the former judges (Wapner, Koch and Sheindlin) and former bailiff Rusty Burrell.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When Judge Milian goes on a tear, she's entertaining; one suspects she has a theatrical personality anyway. When a litigant crosses a line (most likely trying to get away with a bald-faced lie), and she stares at that litigant and starts talking to them in a low, quiet voice, she is terrifying. And if you're unlucky enough to be on the receiving end, you are screwed.
  • Opening Narration: A fixture since the Wapner era.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: So many instances with Judge Milian, all a Moment of Awesome for her. Judge Milian is actually pretty even-tempered compared with Judge Judy, but when something triggers her Berserk Button, hell hath no fury like hers.
    • October 15, 2007: A University of Miami law student says her ruling is "your opinion". Milian goes postal.
    Judge Milian: No, that's my RULING, pal. And let me tell you something, Mr. University of Miami Law School! I taught at U-M for many, many years, and you, right now, are embarrassing us. You do not show that kind of disrespect, okay? If you don't like what the judge is doing, then you take it to the next forum, but you do NOT sit here and say "That's your opinion" like a BABY, when a judge rules against — DON'T EVEN UTTER ANOTHER WORD!! — ... You've got a lot to learn about what it means to be a litigator and a lawyer. Good, because you don't have it in you, but you've got a lot to learn about what it means to be a member of the Florida Bar, and if you think that this kind of petulance and babyness on your part, to turn around and tell a judge who you disagree with "WELL, THAT'S YOUR OPINION!" is gonna get you anywhere, you are sorely mistaken. If there's nothing you should have learned in the last two years as a law student, that's something you should have learned as a human growing up, that you do not show that kind of disrespect. You don't like it, take it to the hallway, but you do not look a judge in the face — because, I don't care what you think about me, you've got to RESPECT THIS PROCESS! And if there's anybody who I expect to respect this process, it's a second-year law student at the University of Miami! Verdict for the plaintiff, $450 and court costs.
    Judge Milian: But I believe the one person I know who's escalating the shenanigans is you, because you're crazy! If you think that a court of law is going to entertain for 5 seconds that an Essence magazine that you loaned in November is going to net you a thousand dollars of profit, then you are crazy and you don't understand what the court system is about! It is not for your personal recreation! CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES IS NOT FOR YOUR PERSONAL RECREATION! THOSE PEOPLE HAVE REAL WORK TO DO! Okay? There's real families in crisis and distress, and your little, personal, petty, crazy, vendettas are not the subject of judge's lives! Get out of my courtroom, but not before you pay her $2000 in damages for making a malicious child services report!
    • Another such instance occurred in a case where two tenants were suing their landlord for two thirds of their rent. After Judge Milian listened to a recording of a conversation between the three men and discovered the tenants were scammers, she tore right into them.
    Judge Milian: Tell me! What part about that sounds like you're coming and moving in the next day for two thirds of the rent, gentlemen?!
    Plaintiff: We were there for a month, and we weren't gonna be there for–
    Judge Milian: Gentlemen! I'm gonna quote you line, chapter, and verse 'cause I am SO ANGRY at you! Show some integrity! Sometimes YOU'VE gotta eat the problem and not the nice guy who's being nice to you! I can't believe you took it this far! It's one thing for you to ask to have the money back, but you're actually SUING him for it?! When I hear in there, "That's true." I – when he says to you, "Well, then you're obligated 'cause it's a month-to-month, so you'd be obligated for the first month," your response is, "That's true, I just want to be clear that you're not gonna be o – that we're not gonna be obligated for the rest of it." At that point you're relieved to just see the $900 go and know he's not gonna sue you for $450. [one of the plaintiffs leans into the microphone on his lectern to try to get a word in edgewise] But then – no, don't talk! Just listen! – But then you gotta get greedy. Then you gotta get greedy with the nice guy. Later, he tells you, "So just come back and drop it off tomorrow, drop it off anytime, you know, drop it off tomorrow some–" "What do you mean, drop it off tomorrow? Moving in tomorrow. What do you mean?" There's none of that. He says, "We were looking forward to having you here." "Well, we were looking forward to BEING here." Does that sound like you're moving in the next day? And then what do you do? You're such trash that you come in the next day to be able to take pictures of the roaches that you know he didn't clean because you weren't moving in, for you to use it as an EXCUSE for why you now get your money back 'cause it wasn't ready? No, gentlemen! No!
    Plaintiff: The perspective was–
    Judge Milian: Not here, not today, not on my watch! NOT ONLY do you not get your $900 back, but that counterclaim that he has now against you? I'm gonna find in his favor, and you two gentlemen owe him an additional $450! [slams her hands on her desk] HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES?! Sometimes you should just leave well enough alone! [bangs her gavel] Unbelievable! Un-be-lievable!
    • One of the Zoom cases involved a young woman suing her brother for the cost of a new cell phone after he smashed her old one in a fit of rage, all because her car was parked in a space that the brother claimed was his. Judge Milian watched footage of the incident itself, where the brother pulled up to the driveway, yelled at his sister while she sat in her own car, and destroyed the aforementioned phone before calling their father and taking his anger out on him as well. Needless to say, Judge Milian was not impressed by the brother's decorum and called him out for it.
    Judge Milian: Is that how you talk to your father? The person who came here as a dishwasher, worked his way up to providing for every single stinking one of you grown children, so that you guys have a place to live and a parking lot to argue about? This is your idea of family values, your father taught you how to be a good person, and your sister doesn't take out the garbage? THIS IS YOU, talking to your father that night?! There is NO excuse for your behavior! Especially over a stupid parking space! And what your father needs to do, 'cause I hope he saw these videos, is tell all of you, "Grow up, you're thirty-something, go get your own apartment that doesn't have anything to do with problems with siblings." Because your parents do not have to live like this. They do not have to live with whatever baggage you're talking about, causing you at two in the morning to lose it like this! You RIPPED the phone out of your sister's hands and threw it against the concrete wall! And then you called your father at three in the morning! You terrified your sister! You tell me how that – tell me what warped SENSE of family values that is! Tell me.
    • Compared to the current version and its contemporaries (particularly Judge Judy), Judge Wapner from the original series rarely did this – almost never in the first few seasons, but it became somewhat more common (although still comparably rare) by the late 1980s. But it was a sight to see when he got pissed – and when he did, Wapner didn't hold back. One example was from 1987, when Wapner had an obnoxious plaintiff suing for damage to his car. The Plaintiff acted very poorly, bringing a crying baby into the courtroom, and tried to manipulate the proceedings accusing the judge of being 'overly reactive'. Wapner's usual patience quickly wore thin, and he was not shy about calling him out on his bad attitude, stopping just short of throwing him out. The plaintiff went on to actually win his case, but not without Wapner making it clear he only won because the law was on his side, and not because of the way he acted, (and that Wapner would never handle a case for him again). However, the plaintiff had clearly learned nothing, and strutted around the courtroom taunting the defendant. Afterwards, Doug questioned his attitude and the Plaintiff still acted like he was the victim, and only cared that he had won his case.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • One plaintiff, upset at the way Judge Milian was ruling, not only stormed out of the courtroom, but kicked the door as he did so. He attempted to re-enter the courtroom, but Milian angrily yelled at him to leave.
    • Similarly, during the Judge Wapner version, another plaintiff similarly stormed out of the courtroom due to disagreeing with Judge Wapner's decision. Unlike the above example, however, the plaintiff's storming out was far more civil, as he did not kick the door down, nor tried to re-enter the courtroom. When Doug Llewelyn tried to get an interview from him, he just merely blew him off.
    • Another case involved a plaintiff suing the defendant's towing company for allegedly damaging her Honda Pilot, but she had absolutely no proof of such events that happened during the tow and never even bothered to document any sort of damage in writing.
    Plaintiff: I didn't make the damage in the back. Somebody else hit that car.
    Judge Milian: Okay.
    Plaintiff: I didn't hit – I never hit nobody. I'm not gonna sit here and say I hit anybody. I hit nobody.
    Judge Milian: Okay, let me tell you what I'm not gonna sit here and say. I'm not gonna sit here and tell them they owe you $3000. Verdict for the defendant. [bangs her gavel]
    Plaintiff: [sarcastically] Fine! It's fine!
    Judge Milian: [arguing across the courtroom while halfway through the door to her chambers] Course it's fine, because they didn't damage it! That's why it's fine with her! [chuckles]
    Plaintiff: They DID damage it!
    Curt Chaplin: Tell me, tell me. Tell me about it.
    Plaintiff: [swats her hand as she storms out] I don't wanna tell y'all nothin'.
  • Take That!: One of Judge Milian's early cases involved an elderly woman suing a hair salon for pain and suffering over a botched hair extension job. In her testimony, the plaintiff described being in pain while hearing Judge Joe Brown playing on television in the background.
    Plaintiff: And then Judge Judy came on.
    Judge Milian: [laughing] And did your headache get worse?
  • Unbuilt Trope: The Wapner-era court was the Ur-Example of the judge show, but despite the occasional Lemony Narrator, it was a much more serious courtroom than Judge Judy or most of the imitators. Most cases were fairly pedestrian arbitrations between usually-reasonable people, and really dumb or obnoxious litigants were the exception rather than the rule (though they did happen often enough to spice up the show). Judge Judy came along later and introduced the Jerkass judge and a preference for idiotic plaintiffs and defendants for her to take apart, which came to typify the genre and became part of the rebooted People's Court.

"Don't take the law into your own hands; take 'em to court - The People's Court."