Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Appeals Court Doesn't Like Lapine's Case

Two and a half years ago, on October 21, 2007, I did a post here about the battling cookbooks:
Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook was titled Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food (HarperCollins). After Oprah invited Jessica to guest star on her show on October 8th, the book took off.

Then Running Press, an imprint owned by Perseus Books, contacted HarperCollins. The independent press was concerned about “similarities between Deceptively Delicious and RP’s The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals by Missy Chase Lapine, published almost exactly six months earlier.
A little more than two months later in January, 2008, I did another post here:
Both Jessica and her husband, comedian Jerry Seinfeld, strenuously denied any plagiarism. In November, when asked about the controversy during an appearance on The View, Jessica said: “I can understand why she would have been frustrated. It must have been hard to see how quickly my book took off. I never saw her book, I never saw her recipes, nor, as a person, would I ever do something like I was accused of doing.”

Jerry also leaped to his wife's defense. He appeared on David Letterman's show [on October 29, 2007], calling Lapine a "whacko" who claimed Jessica "stole my mushed up carrots." He went on to say that "She has three names and, you know, if you read history many of the three-named people do become assassins. Mark David Chapman, James Earl Ray."
Eight weeks after the television show aired, Missy Chase Lapine sued both Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld in Manhattan federal court for plagiarim and defamation.

In July, 2008, I said here:
... I don't think much of the plagiarism charge in the lawsuit. However, Jerry Seinfeld should be glad I can't serve on a jury in Manhattan because I'm not so sure I wouldn't be all over him about that defamation charge.

... I think Seinfeld abused his celebrity in mocking a non-celebrity who did not have any other forum in which to respond outside of our courts.

I dislike bullies, especially mean-spirited bullies who hide behind sarcasm, trying to make others laugh at someone else's expense. Just because the victim is 37 instead of 7, it doesn't make it all right.
On September 11, 2009 here I reported:
Yesterday U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain threw out the lawsuit Missy Chase Lapine brought against Jessica Seinfeld. Ms. Lapine alleged that Jerry Seinfeld's wife had plagiarized her cookbook.

... Judge Swain refused to address Lapine's charge of slander against Jerry Seinfeld. She referred Lapine to the New York State Court to pursue that claim.

Missy may have been down, but she wasn't out. She appealed the court's decision to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
On Monday, the New York Post reported:
Missy Chase Lapine wants her plagiarism suit against the "Seinfeld" star's wife to be reinstated, but a pair of federal judges indicated they think her claims that the comic's wife ripped off her kid-friendly cookbook are half-baked ... The judges reserved decision.

Lapine's also suing Seinfeld's hubby in state court, charging the "Marriage Ref" star slandered her during an appearance on the "Late Show with David Letterman," where he referred to her as "angry and hysterical" and a "wacko" stalker.
I still think the slander lawsuit has better legs than the plagiarism one.

You can read the entire New York Post story here.

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