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Costanza v. Seinfeld

181 Misc. 2d 562 (1999)

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Costanza v. Seinfeld

New York County Supreme Court

181 Misc. 2d 562 (1999)

Facts

Michael Costanza (plaintiff) was a former college friend of comedian and actor Jerry Seinfeld (defendant). Seinfeld, along with Larry David (defendant), created the television show Seinfeld. One of the characters on the show was George Costanza. Costanza alleged that the character George was based on him and that Seinfeld and David portrayed him as a self-centered and unreliable person. Following the airing of the final episode of Seinfeld, Costanza released a book entitled The Real Seinfeld that detailed Costanza’s relationship with Seinfeld. In response to the publication, David stated that Costanza was a “flagrant opportunist who barely knew Jerry less than a year.” Costanza filed suit against Seinfeld, David, NBC, and its production companies (defendants) for invasion of privacy by false light and defamation based on David’s statement about him being an opportunist. David, Seinfeld, NBC, and the production companies filed a pre-answer motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim and sought sanctions against Costanza for bringing a frivolous lawsuit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Tompkins, J.)

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