Cookbook Author Sues Jessica and Jerry Seinfeld for Copyright Infringement and Defamation

Mon Jan 7, 2008 3:53pm EST

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Cookbook Author Sues Jessica and Jerry Seinfeld for Copyright Infringement and
Defamation

    NEW YORK, Jan. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Attorneys for Missy Chase Lapine, author
of "The Sneaky Chef," today filed a lawsuit against Jessica Seinfeld and Jerry
Seinfeld for copyright and trademark infringement and defamation in Federal
District Court in New York.
    The lawsuit alleges that Jessica Seinfeld blatantly plagiarized Ms.
Lapine's book, "The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in
Kids' Favorite Meals," a critically-acclaimed and commercially successful
cookbook with an innovative approach to improving children's eating habits.
"The Sneaky Chef" shows parents how to, among other things, camouflage purees
of carefully selected fruits and vegetables as ingredients in less healthy
foods that kids like, such as cheeseburgers, pizza and brownies. Running Press
Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, published "The Sneaky Chef" in April,
2007, generating positive reviews and quickly becoming a New York Times
bestseller.
    Six months later, in October, 2007, Jessica Seinfeld released a
substantially similar book, "Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Getting
Your Kids Eating Good Food."
    Prior to the publication of "Deceptively Delicious," Ms. Lapine saw
promotional material and alerted her publisher to the striking similarities
between the two books, including cover art, subtitles, structure, design and
overall look and feel. Running Press, seeking to prevent any violation of Ms.
Lapine's rights, brought the striking similarities to the attention of Jessica
Seinfeld's publisher. Jessica Seinfeld's publisher, which had earlier reviewed
and passed up a book proposal by Ms. Lapine, nonetheless published the book
with only insignificant changes. The lawsuit lists detailed examples of
identical language in the two books.
    At the same time, Jerry Seinfeld went on a malicious campaign against Ms.
Lapine, publicly calling her a "nut job" and "hysterical." On an appearance on
'Late Show with David Letterman' in October 2007, Mr. Seinfeld called Ms.
Lapine a "wacko" who had been "waiting in the woodwork" for a chance to attack
the Seinfelds. He also asserted, incorrectly, that the two books came out "at
the same time." The lawsuit cites several examples of defamatory language by
Mr. Seinfeld, apparently intended to intimidate Ms. Lapine.
    "This action for copyright and trademark infringement and defamation
arises from conduct that gives new meaning to the terms 'arrogance' and
'greed,'" states the lawsuit.
    The lawsuit also points out that Ms. Lapine is the former publisher of
Eating Well magazine, is on the faculty of the New School and has extensive
experience in child nutrition. She also serves on the Children's Advisory
Council of Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of New York-Presbyterian, where
"The Sneaky Chef" recipes are used with pediatric patients.
    The lawsuit also notes that Ms. Lapine began researching methods for
getting children to eat healthier foods five years before her book came out.
She conducted numerous taste tests, focus groups and interviews, consulting
extensively with leading nutritionists, pediatricians and chefs.
Ms. Lapine is represented by Marc E. Kasowitz and Mark P. Ressler of
Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, LLP.
SOURCE  Marc Kasowitz, Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, LLP

Seth Faison, +1-212-573-6100, or James Bates +1-310-788-2850, of Sitrick and
Company, for Marc Kasowitz, Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, LLP; Marc
Kasowitz, Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, LLP, +1-212-506-1700
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