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Litigant to Judge Mathis -- I Ain't No Hillbilly, Dang It!

10/5/2007 12:21 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Judge MathisA litigant who appeared on the "Judge Mathis" television court show has sued Greg Mathis, Warner Bros and Telepictures (which co-owns TMZ), claiming she was done in by the show and essentially called a hick.

Melody Burnham says the show contacted her over a lawsuit she had filed against a tenant. Burnham, a resident of San Diego, alleges producers never explained that Mathis was not a sitting judge in a real court. By the way, the show flew Burnham and a friend to Chicago for the taping, put her up in a hotel and paid for her meals. -- not generally something the Cook County Circuit Courts do. And it's unclear why she thought a "real" court in Chicago would hear a San Diego landlord/tenant case.

And it gets better!

Burnham goes on to allege that when she actually appeared before Mathis and the cameras (and the crew and the studio audience), she was still in the dark that it was not a real court. She says she didn't figure that out for more than a year. Ding dang!

So Burnham's suit against Mathis, filed in San Diego County Superior Court, claims she was held hostage in a dressing room for six hours without food. She also claims, among many other things, she didn't know she was going to be countersued until minutes before the trial.

But the unkindest cut of all -- Mathis "....ridiculed her for the pictures showing her washing machine outside, calling her a 'hillbilly.'"

According to the suit, Mathis dismissed the case, awarded damages to neither party, and stated, "I'm sending you hillbillies back to the hills.

The suit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

UPDATE: As TMZ first reported, San Diego resident Melody Burnham sued TV's Judge Greg Mathis and his show's production companies, claiming she didn't know Mathis was not a real judge in a real court. She also says Mathis called her a "hillbilly" on the show.

A spokesperson for Telepictures Productions, the company that produces "Judge Mathis," tells TMZ: "We absolutely believe this case has absolutely no merit. Greg Mathis is a respected lawyer and former judge. The show, currently in its ninth season, follows strict procedures for case selection, releases and binding awards. All participants sign releases before appearing on the program and any allegations that this was not a real case are unfounded and fabricated. Judge Mathis' track record for advocacy and fairness to all speaks for itself."

TMZ is a joint venture between Telepictures and AOL


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2576 days ago


Actually I don't think that this guy was ever a real judge in the first place. I think he just got arrested during his high school graduation, and while he was at the courthouse they saw him in his black graduation gown and figured he was a judge. After all it IS chicago, how bright could their court system be?

2576 days ago


So sad she went for a long 6 hours with out food and did not die . Wow she must have hillbilly super powers .

2576 days ago


He's no Judge Judy, I think we can all agree on that.

2576 days ago

how dumb    

I'd have to agree with one thing..... if it had been a WHITE judge making such derogatory comments to a MINORITY "defendant", there would've been a lawsuit a long time ago.

This egomaniac "judge" should watch his mouth. The woman is probably nuts, but I hope he has to pay out his butt for calling her a hillbilly.

2576 days ago


unfortunately, the competition for ratings and holding the attention of the public - means that entertainers will have to sometimes be a little controversial to get a laugh

It may not be ethical or in good taste - but ratings can sometimes win over sensativity

Viewers want controversy, to be entertained and to laugh at others .

There are many shows competing for the increasingly smaller viewership

2576 days ago


Oh come on now. This is what is wrong with our justice system. Need money, sue someone. This sounds like someone looking for their 15 minutes of fame. Why don't they just apply to be on another reality show. Don't you think they might have had a clue that they were going to be on tv when I am sure the make-up people were there and a dressing room? If they didn't have a clue then their picture should be in the dictionary next to the word hillbilly.

2576 days ago

I'm Back Biatches    

Probably the first time the ol' hillbilly was on a plane, stayed in a hotel and had meals provided for her sorry azz. Thank God there "ain't no hole in her washtub" sitting on her porch! Yeee Hawwww!

2576 days ago


#2 he was a real judge, my brother in law was a cop in detriot and knows him from court cases

2576 days ago


WOW! Way to make this a race issue. Clearly you haven't seen the show. Not only will he call someone out for being PWT he'll let you know when your accting Ghetto. So, seems like equal justice to me.

Yes, he is a real judge. Some folks! Dag!

2576 days ago


Judge Mathis puts everyone on his show on blast! This one black girl was on there bragging about all her designer pocket books and then he asked her how come she couldnt pay her medical bill- she said she had no health insurance. He told her- you have a closet full of $500 purses and NO health insurance- Now thats gehtto! LOL

2576 days ago


ding dang ya'll!

2576 days ago


It is a shame that they give this man who is a minority an oportunity to be on tv and make a diffrence and instead he chooses to be ignorant and say something like that to this women
the worst part about it is that he does this constantly and only now is it being addressed because finally somebody got upset and sued.

2576 days ago


Ms. Burnham deserves what has happened to her if it took her a WHOLE YEAR to discover that she was on a orchestrated show. LOL

2576 days ago


Well, I can only guess that she is relatively .STUPID. Why is it, you Americans sue at the drop of a hat?????? How could she NOT know it was a TV show, especially with all the lights and Camers in her face??

2576 days ago
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