Seinfelds beat plagiarism, defamation claims in NY

Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:06pm EDT
 
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A lawsuit that accused Jerry Seinfeld of defamation and his wife Jessica Seinfeld of plagiarism in her top-selling cookbook was tossed out by a federal judge on Thursday.

The suit, filed last year by cookbook author Missy Chase Lapine, claimed Jessica Seinfeld copied her book that explores how to sneak healthy foods into kids' diets. It also accused the comedian of embarking on a "slanderous attack" against Lapine on U.S. national television shows.

Jessica Seinfeld's book, "Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Getting Your Kids Eating Good Food," was published by Harper Collins in 2007, six months after Lapine's book "The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals," the lawsuit claimed.

Jerry Seinfeld denied the claims on "Late Show with David Letterman" and said they were published at the same time.

In a ruling issued on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Laura Swain disagreed with Lapine's claims that Jessica Seinfeld's book plagiarized her own in concept, cover art, style and structure.

"Many of the alleged similarities are shared by cookbooks as a whole and the genre of cookbooks addressing encouraging healthy eating in children," she said, noting Lapine's book was "dry, rather text-heavy work" whereas Jessica Seinfeld's was "bright and cheerful, full of different colors."

Since the copyright claims were tossed, the judge declined to consider a claim that Jerry Seinfeld slandered Lapine when he called her a "wacko" and joked his wife had been accused of "vegetable plagiarism" on Letterman's show.

(Reporting by Christine Kearney, editing by Cynthia Osterman)

 
<p>Actor Jerry Seinfeld and his wife Jessica pose as they arrive at the 2009 Vanity Fair Oscar Party in West Hollywood, California February 22, 2009. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>