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Old Bridge, NJ - Comedian Wins as 'Jewish Mother-in-Lawsuit' Is Dismissed

Published on: May 4, 2010 08:53 PM
By: AP
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Old Bridge, NJ - A standup comedian who was sued for making mother-in-law jokes has had the last laugh after a federal judge threw the case out of court.

Sunda Croonquist, whose shtick for years has been to describe her life as a half-black, half-Swedish woman who marries into a Jewish family, was sued two years ago after her mother-in-law, sister-in-law and brother-in-law said her jokes were holding them up to public ridicule.

In a 21-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Mary L. Cooper of New Jersey concluded that the examples they cited — including one in which Croonquist says her sister’s voice sounds like a cat in heat — fell under the category of protected speech.

Many of the jokes, Cooper said, were clearly statements of opinion and not fact and therefore protected by the First Amendment. The cat-in-heat joke, the judge said, quoting from a previous court decision, was “colorful, figurative rhetoric that reasonable minds would not take to be factual.”

The suit was filed in New Jersey because two of the plaintiffs, Croonquist’s brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Neil and Shelley Edelman, live there. Croonquist lives in Beverly Hills and her mother-in-law, Ruth Zafrin, lives in the New York City borough of Brooklyn.

Adding another family twist to the case was the fact Croonquist’s husband, Mark Zafrin, is a partner in the law firm that successfully represented her.

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“He’s excited that I won, but he’s not happy about the legal fees that his firm had to incur,” she said.

Croonquist, who is appearing at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood on Saturday night, said her audience should expect to hear more in-law jokes.

“In honor of Henny Youngman, why would I stop?” she asked, citing the legendary comedian whose signature line was “Take my wife — please.”

Neither Zafrin nor her attorney, Lawrence Wertheim of Old Bridge, N.J., responded to requests for comment. A telephone listing for the Edelmans could not be located.



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Read Comments (20)  —  Post Yours »

1

 May 04, 2010 at 09:29 PM Milhouse Says:

How was this suit allowed to go on for two years? Why was it not immediately dismissed as frivolous, and the plaintiff's lawyer hit with sanctions?

2

 May 04, 2010 at 10:03 PM Anonymous Says:

So my husbands inlaws aren't the only nuts on earth?

3

 May 04, 2010 at 10:11 PM Anonymous Says:

Sunda Croonquist probably needed the jokes to retain her sanity and the greatest legal opinions agreed that she was protected by the Constitution to laugh at her relative's foibles. While no one likes to be publically ridiculed, we could all stand to loosen up a bit and LEARN TO LAUGH AT OURSELVES. Life is too short to fight and, like they say, laughter is the best medicine!

4

 May 04, 2010 at 10:58 PM silly her Says:

can;t she come up with some new joke? why do so many of them use the same joke so many times ?

5

 May 04, 2010 at 11:32 PM Anonymous Says:

shes actually funny. hey her in-laws, sound like my outlaws!

6

 May 05, 2010 at 12:15 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

So my husbands inlaws aren't the only nuts on earth?

Your husband's in-laws are your parents.

7

 May 05, 2010 at 01:25 AM Anonymous Says:

What a shviger!

8

 May 05, 2010 at 02:46 AM I'd love a link to see her jokes Says:

If anyone has one, please post!

9

 May 05, 2010 at 08:44 AM Anonymous Says:

How would you feel as Jewish parents of a guy who married a half black-half swedish shiksa making fun of your family?

10

 May 05, 2010 at 09:04 AM yiddishe shviger Says:

I thought that this mother in law was just helping them out. By bringing this matter into the spotlight, she just gained publicity. I never heard of this comedian before, and I am sure many others did not but this issue was a bit funny and I am certain that tons of people decided to check it out just for curiosity.

11

 May 05, 2010 at 09:05 AM yiddishe shviger Says:

Reply to #8  
I'd love a link to see her jokes Says:

If anyone has one, please post!

See what I mean. Just google the comedians name, you should be able to see some of her performances.

12

 May 05, 2010 at 10:39 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

Your husband's in-laws are your parents.

we all appreciate the effort... but its hopeless!!!

13

 May 05, 2010 at 10:58 AM Anonymous Says:

I heard she is going on a pleasure trip, she is taking her mother-in-law to the airport.

14

 May 05, 2010 at 11:06 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Milhouse Says:

How was this suit allowed to go on for two years? Why was it not immediately dismissed as frivolous, and the plaintiff's lawyer hit with sanctions?

Why shouldn't the Edelman's have their day in court?

15

 May 05, 2010 at 12:54 PM Anonymous Says:

Please! I think that the fight between a mother in low have to stop!their is no reason to be against a sweet shneer:

16

 May 05, 2010 at 05:57 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #15  
Anonymous Says:

Please! I think that the fight between a mother in low have to stop!their is no reason to be against a sweet shneer:

Darling, some mothers-in-law NEVER accept their daughters-in-law into the family. This is the real world!

17

 May 05, 2010 at 07:16 PM Lucky Charms Says:

Reply to #1  
Milhouse Says:

How was this suit allowed to go on for two years? Why was it not immediately dismissed as frivolous, and the plaintiff's lawyer hit with sanctions?

Walk a mile in their shoes: If someone made you into a joke, over and over again, and wouldn't stop, and kept on going...would you think it is frivolous???

18

 May 06, 2010 at 02:54 AM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #17  
Lucky Charms Says:

Walk a mile in their shoes: If someone made you into a joke, over and over again, and wouldn't stop, and kept on going...would you think it is frivolous???

Boo hoo. So their feelings were hurt. How does that make their lawsuit in any way less frivolous?

19

 May 06, 2010 at 02:55 AM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #14  
Anonymous Says:

Why shouldn't the Edelman's have their day in court?

Because there's no cause of action. There is no right not to be made fun of. There's this thing called the first amendment; maybe you've heard of it?

20

 May 06, 2010 at 08:31 PM Lucky Charms Says:

Reply to #18  
Milhouse Says:

Boo hoo. So their feelings were hurt. How does that make their lawsuit in any way less frivolous?

Oh, let's think really hard...Harrassment...Libel....Defamation...Interfering with one's quality or enjoyment of life...

Bottom line is, you hurt someone (even emotionally) - you might need to pay for it. Al pi torah - you pay boshes and you pay for name calling.

This isn't something obscure. Surprised you didn't know!

21

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