Laura Taylor Swain

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Laura Taylor Swain (born 1958) is a federal judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Brooklyn, Swain earned a bachelor's degree in 1979 from Harvard University/Radcliffe College. She earned a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1982.[1]

From 1982 until 1983, Swain worked as a law clerk for Judge Constance Baker Motley on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.[2]

Professional career[edit]

From 1983 until 1996, Swain worked in private legal practice in New York City, practicing in the areas of ERISA, employee benefits, executive compensation and employee law for the firm Debevoise & Plimpton.[3][4]

Federal judicial service[edit]

On April 25, 2000, President Clinton nominated Swain to be a District Court Judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. She was confirmed by the United States Senate on June 16, 2000.[5]

On November 1, 1996, Swain became a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Eastern District of New York.[6] She served in that role until becoming a United States District Judge in 2000.[7]

Copyright and authorship cases[edit]

Judge Swain's tenure on the District Court bench has included some of the Southern District of New York's most recent high profile book authorship disputes. In particular, Judge Swain has presided over Lapine v. Seinfeld (case number 08-cv-00128) and Hoover v. Boncompangi. Both cases have been widely covered by the press, and been rich fodder for many of the New York's tabloid newspapers.[8][9][10][11]

Lapine v. Seinfeld[edit]

This action was filed by author Missy Chase Lapine against comedian Jerry Seinfeld and his wife, Jessica Seinfeld, asserting that the couple used ideas for Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food from Lapine's book The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals.[12][13]

The Seinfelds have denied Lapine's claim. Lapine claims she has experiences substantial harm.[14]

As a result of comments made by Mr. Seinfeld about the authorship dispute on the Late Show with David Letterman, Lapine included a cause of action for defamation to her suit.[15]

Hoover v. Boncompagni[edit]

This action was filed by Tatiana Boncompagni Hoover against her older sister Natasha Boncompagni. Hoover, a New York socialite, professional author, and wife of an heir to the Hoover cleaning founder, accused her sister of making unauthorized electronic copies of her book Hedge Fund Wives.[16][17]

The court granted an emergency temporary restraining order preventing the older sister from further distribution of the prepublication manuscript.[18][19]

The case reached closure in early 2009 when Judge Swain entered a consent order stating "The Defendant has announced to the Court that she is not a co-author of ‘Hedge Fund Wives’ and has no authorship or co-authorship rights to the work. The Defendant agrees to release any registered or pending copyrights that she has relating to ‘Hedge Fund Wives,’ and any domain names or other property relating to ‘Hedge Fund Wives’ or the Plaintiff’s first novel, ‘Gilding Lily.’" [20][21]


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