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Slander suit against Jerry Seinfeld dismissed

By Jesse Solomon, CNN
  • Missy Chase Lapine sued Jessica Seinfeld for copyright infringement
  • Jerry Seinfeld called Lapine a "wacko" and a "nutjob" in television interviews
  • Lapine lost her case against Jessica Seinfeld in 2010

New York (CNN) -- A New York judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit Friday against actor-comedian Jerry Seinfeld over comments he made in 2007 about an author who accused his wife of copyright infringement.

Seinfeld referred to the author, Missy Chase Lapine, as a "wacko" on "The Late Show with David Letterman" and referred to her as a "nutjob" who "comes outta the woodwork" in E! News, according to the decision.

"Seinfeld's statements are protected not because they were made in a comedic context nor because they are themselves comedic but because, as the context and content demonstrate, they are not defamatory as a matter of law," New York state Judge Marcy Friedman said in her decision.

Lapine, the author "The Sneaky Chef," sued Seinfeld's wife, Jessica Seinfeld, in 2007 for copyright infringement. Lapine claimed Seinfeld stole ideas from "The Sneaky Chef" for her own cookbook, "Deceptively Delicious," which offered up ideas for slipping vegetables into children's food. A federal appeals court rejected Lapine's claims in April 2010.

In addition to throwing out the slander suit against Seinfeld, Friedman on Friday dismissed state misappropriation and unfair competition claims against Jessica Seinfeld's publisher, HarperCollins.

"Today's decision is a complete victory for Jerry -- and also a victory for the First Amendment and the right of comedians to tell jokes," Orgin Snyder, Seinfeld's attorney, said in a statement. "The decision also vindicates HarperCollins and Jessica Seinfeld yet again, confirming what the two different federal courts have already ruled: Jessica independently created her bestselling book Deceptively Delicious."

Attorneys for Lapine could not be reached immediately for comment.