Seinfeld Defeats Costanza Lawsuit

ByABC News
January 7, 2001, 3:23 PM

January 5 -- The New York man who claims he was the inspiration for a neurotic character on the now-defunct NBC comedy Seinfeld has lost his court battle with the show's creators.

A $100 million lawsuit filed by Michael Costanza, who alleged that comedian Jerry Seinfeld and the sitcom's producers violated his privacy by basing the character George Costanza on his life, was dismissed in New York appeals court Thursday.

According to The Associated Press, State Supreme Court Appellate Division judges upheld a June 1999 ruling that Seinfeld did not use the plaintiff's "name, portrait, or picture," with the exception of one episode, in which Costanza, 43, had a brief cameo. The judges added that the statute of limitations on the case had run out, as Costanza did not sue within one year of the show's debut in 1989.

Costanza, who wrote a book called The Real Seinfeld (as Told by the Real Costanza), claimed that his sniveling alleged TV counterpart, played by Jason Alexander, damaged his reputation and caused him emotional distress.

"George is bald. I am bald," Costanza said. "George is stocky. I am stocky. George and I both went to Queens College with Jerry. George's high-school teacher nicknamed him 'Can't stand ya.' So did mine. George had a thing about bathrooms and parking spaces. So do I."

Uh, Mike? We all have a thing about bathrooms and parking spaces.

Seinfeld's reps maintain that the George Costanza character was based on Larry David, the popular show's producer, the AP noted.