JVC - Attorneys


Duffy Carolan represents news, online and entertainment content providers in a variety of matters, including defamation, invasion of privacy, right of publicity, prior restraint, copyright, trademark, and Internet law issues at both the trial and appellate levels in state and federal courts. She is newsroom counsel to over 40 California newspapers, providing 24/7 advice to reporters and editors on deadline. She often defends reporters and companies against subpoenas seeking unpublished source information, and regularly represents newspapers under the state’s adjudication statutes. Duffy has extensive experience representing news organizations and private citizens seeking to obtain access to public records and public meetings under the California Public Records Act, Freedom of Information Act, and Ralph M. Brown Act. As a former journalist, she regularly conducts newsroom training sessions on a variety of timely topics. She was honored by the Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists as “Counsel of the Year” for 2011, and was selected by her peers through The Best Lawyers in America® as San Francisco’s “Lawyer of the Year” in Litigation-First Amendment for 2013.


State Dep’t of Public Health v. Superior Ct. (The Center for Investigative Reporting), 60 Cal.4th 940 (2015). Obtained unanimous California Supreme Court opinion in action under the California Public Records Act by investigative news agency requiring Dep’t of Public Health to disclose citations chronicling abuse and neglect of residents at State-run long-term care facilities. Fee recovery of $499,000.00.

California Newspapers Partnership, San Jose Mercury News et al. v. California State Senate , (Sacramento County Superior Court, 2015). Obtained order under the Legislative Opens Records Act compelling Senate to release calendars of two indicted senators – Sen. Leland Yee and Sen. Ron Calderon. Fee recovery of $150,000.00.

Saldana v. Los Angeles News Group, (Los Angeles County Superior Court, 2014). Obtained order striking complaint and awarding fees in favor of paper under anti-SLAPP statute involving newspaper’s reporting on adoption of controversial policies at high school for at-risk youths.

Bay Area News Group v. Mt. Diablo Unified School Dist, (Contra Costa County Superior Court, 2016). Obtained order requiring disclosure of attorney-prepared investigation report pertaining to allegations of improper conduct of elementary school teacher later convicted of child molestation. Fee recovery of $225,000.00.

Cameranesi v. U.S. Dep’t of Defense, 941 F.Supp.2d 1173 (N.D. Cal. 2013). Representing requesters in a Freedom of Information Act case, obtained an order requiring disclosure of the names and military units of foreign students and instructors receiving training at publicly-funded military training school at Ft. Benning, Georgia.   On appeal.

Reudy v. CBS Corporation, 356 Fed. App’x 2 (9th Cir. 2009). Obtained order affirming dismissal of a complaint alleging antitrust and business torts involving outdoor advertising.

Walker v. Viacom International, Inc., 2008 WL 2050964 (N.D. Cal. May 13, 2008), aff’d, 362 Fed. App’x 858 (9th Cir. 2008). Successfully defended SpongeBob SquarePants franchise, character and story line from alleged copyright infringement.

The Best Lawyers in America®
     First Amendment Law and Media Law
     San Francisco First Amendment
     Lawyer of the Year, 2013
Chambers USA
     Media & Entertainment Litigation
Super Lawyers
Freedom of Information Award – SPJ/NC


First Amendment Coalition
      Board of Directors & Exec. Cmte.
Center for Investigative Reporting
     Advisory Board
TIPS Media, Privacy and Defamation
     Former Chair
UC Berkeley, School of Journalism
     Adjunct Professor of Media Law
The Chauncey Bailey Project 2007-2011


Extern and Interim Law Clerk, Hon. D. Lowell Jensen, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (1990/ 1993)


University of San Francisco (JD, 1991)
     Law Review
     Moot Court – Best oral argument.
Cal. Polytechnic University
                            (BS, Journalism, 1985)