I just checked at wikipedia and you are correct , it says " The producers' employees call both parties and ask them questions about their case to make sure it is suitable for Judge Judy. If the parties agree to be on the show and sign a waiver, agreeing that arbitration in Sheindlin's court is final and cannot be pursued elsewhere (unless she dismisses the lawsuit without prejudice), their case will air on Judge Judy.  The award limit on Judge Judy, as on most 'syndi-court' shows (and most small claims courts in U.S.), is $5,000. The award for each judgment is paid by the producers of the show, from a fund reserved for each case. About forty percent of the cases are money judgments, while sixty percent are dismissed.