DOCUMENT: Celebrity

Seinfeld, Wife Sued Over Cookbook

Author files plagiarism, defamation claim against celebrity couple

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Seinfeld, Wife Sued Over Cookbook

JANUARY 7--An author today sued Jerry Seinfeld's wife for allegedly plagiarizing a cookbook she wrote and also accused the comedian of defaming her as a 'wacko' during an interview with David Letterman.

In a federal lawsuit, Missy Chase Lapine alleges that Jessica Seinfeld 'brazenly plagiarized' from her 2007 book 'The Sneaky Chef' in the writing of Seinfeld's own cookbook (both volumes focused on how to prepare healthy meals for finicky young eaters). When news stories appeared detailing similarities in the two books, Jerry Seinfeld launched a 'malicious, premeditated, and knowingly false and defamatory attack' on Lapine, the complaint charges.

As part of that campaign, Seinfeld went on Letterman's show and described Lapine as 'angry' and 'hysterical.' He then compared her to the kind of 'wackos' that had previously stalked Letterman. The comedian then added that Lapine was a 'three-name woman' and 'if you read history, many of the three-name people do become assassins.'

The complaint, an excerpt of which you'll find here, adds that Seinfeld also described Lapine as a 'nutjob' in a second television interview. Lapine's lawsuit, which does not specify monetary damages, was filed this afternoon in U.S. District Court in New York.

In a statement, a lawyer for the Seinfelds, Richard Menaker, termed Lapine's lawsuit a 'misguided use of the legal system' and said that her plagiarism claims were 'unfounded and untrue.' As for Jerry Seinfeld's barbs, Menaker said the performer was 'entitled to his opinions.' (19 pages)