February 26, 2008 / 6:09 PM / 10 years ago

Seinfelds deny "vegetable plagiarism" lawsuit

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Comedian Jerry Seinfeld and his wife deny he defamed the author of a rival cookbook in a television appearance and have asked for the dismissal of a plagiarism suit filed over the book.

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

Seinfeld’s lawyers admitted he joked about Lapine on “Late Show with David Letterman” but said it did not amount to slander, according a court filing seeking to dismiss the lawsuit.

“Jerry Seinfeld made overstatements of opinion for comic effect,” the motion said.

Lapine, who filed the suit in January seeking unspecified damages, said Jessica Seinfeld’s book plagiarized her own in concept, cover art, style and structure.

It also said Jerry Seinfeld implied on Letterman’s show that Lapine was a “wacko,” celebrity stalker and joked that Lapine had publicly accused his wife of “vegetable plagiarism.”

But in court papers filed on Friday, lawyers for the Seinfelds said beyond the basic idea of a book about how to get kids to eat healthy foods -- which did not infringe copyright -- the two books differed “in terms of style, design, organization, or look and feel.”

Reporting by Christine Kearney; Editing by Michelle Nichols and Bill Trott

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