MEDIA & FIRST
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Litigation - First Amendment
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First Amendment Law
Litigation - First Amendment
As the only boutique media and First Amendment firm with offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco, spanning the State of California, we have abundant experience litigating, counseling, writing about and teaching on free speech and free press issues, including defamation, privacy, right of publicity, prior restraints, anti-SLAPP, corporate speech, advertising, reporter’s privilege/shield, student speech and access to records and proceedings. Two of our attorneys, Jean-Paul Jassy and Duffy Carolan, are listed in The Best Lawyers in America
® in the First Amendment field.
Some of the cases our attorneys have handled:
Defamation (Libel & Slander)
Publicity & Privacy
- Tory v. Cochran, 544 U.S. 734 (2005). Represented Ulysses Tory in the U.S. Supreme Court, which struck down an overly broad prior restraint, issued after a defamation trial, on Tory’s speech about noted attorney Johnnie Cochran.
- Arpaio v. Zucker, 414 F.Supp.3d 84 (D.D.C. 2019). Defended Huffington Post, securing dismissal of defamation, false light and tortious interference claims brought by Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
- Thomas v. Los Angeles Times Communications LLC, 189 F.Supp.2d 1005 (C.D. Cal. 2002), aff’d, 45 Fed. App’x 801 (9th Cir. 2002). Brought a successful anti-SLAPP motion in defense of a newspaper in a defamation case. The result was affirmed on appeal.
- Enea v. Mother Jones Magazine and KGO-TV (Contra Costa County Superior Court 2011). Successfully defended ABC affiliate with an anti-SLAPP motion in a defamation case concerning a news broadcast.
- Balboa Island Village Inn v. Lemen, 40 Cal. 4th 1141 (2007). Represented Anne Lemen in the California Supreme Court in a successful effort to have an injunction on her speech lifted following a defamation trial.
- Anschutz Entertainment Group v. Snepp, 171 Cal. App. 4th 598 (2009). Defended NBC affiliate and reporter Frank Snepp, obtaining dismissal of a defamation claim for failure to comply with retraction demand statute.
- Diaz v. NBC Universal, Inc., 337 Fed. App’x 94 (2d Cir. 2009). Successfully defended NBC Universal at the trial and appellate levels from libel claims in connection with the motion picture American Gangster.
- Saldana v. Los Angeles News Group (Los Angeles Superior Court 2015). Brought successful anti-SLAPP motion on behalf of newspaper and reporter in defamation action.
Access to Records and Proceedings
- Lieberman v. KCOP Television, Inc., 110 Cal. App. 4th 156 (2003). In the first case to apply California’s anti-SLAPP statute to claims for newsgathering, defended television station in the use of hidden cameras for an undercover investigative news piece.
- Tyne v. Time Warner Entertainment Corp., 901 So.2d 802 (Fla. 2005). As counsel for amici curiae Motion Picture Association of America and others in the Florida Supreme Court, argued that Florida’s right of publicity statute should be read in a manner consistent with the First Amendment in a case concerning the movie The Perfect Storm. The Court held the same.
- McRae v. Richman and Oakland Tribune, 2009 WL 106607 (Cal. Ct. App. Jan 16, 2009). Defended newspaper in invasion of privacy lawsuit, obtaining a fee award following a successful anti-SLAPP motion that was upheld on appeal.
- Troyer v. TMZ.com (C.D. Cal. 2008). Successfully vacated prior restraint against TMZ in case brought by actor Verne Troyer for invasion of privacy, misappropriation of likeness, copyright infringement and Lanham Act violations.
- Kent v. Universal Studios Inc. (C.D. Cal. 2008). Successfully defended studio, producers and others against claims for misappropriation of publicity rights and false endorsement under the Lanham Act in connection with the movie Charlie Wilson’s War.
- State Dep’t of Public Health v. Superior Ct. (The Center for Investigative Reporting), --- Cal. 4th --- (2015). In a California Public Records Act (CPRA) lawsuit on behalf of investigative news agency, obtained decision granting access to citations against mental health facilities for violations of law.
- Sander v. State Bar of California, 58 Cal. 4th 300 (2013). Successfully argued on behalf of UCLA Prof. Richard Sander in a California Supreme Court case recognizing a sweeping common law right of access to data maintained by the California State Bar.
- Bakersfield City Sch. Dist. v. Superior Ct. (Bakersfield Californian), 118 Cal. App. 4th 1041 (2004). Successfully represented newspaper in CPRA lawsuit to obtain disciplinary records of public school district employee.
- Cameranesi v. U.S. Dep’t of Defense, 941 F.Supp.2d 1173 (N.D. Cal. 2013). Represented requestors in Freedom of Information Act case, obtaining order requiring disclosure of the names and military units of foreign students and instructors at taxpayer-supported training school.
- Berman v. Central Intelligence Agency, 501 F.3d 1136 (9th Cir. 2007). Represented Vietnam War historian in Freedom of Information Act litigation, defeating CIA’s claim that presidential daily briefs are categorically exempt from disclosure to the public.
- In re Chauncey Bailey Project (2007-2011). Represented coalition of media entities investigating murder of American journalist. During murder trial obtained orders granting access to grand jury transcripts, search warrant materials, lifting gag order, and quashing defense subpoena, keeping reporter off witness stand.
- Domen v. Vimeo, Inc., --- F.Supp.3d ---, 2020 WL 217048 (S.D.N.Y. 2020). Successful defense of video-sharing website Vimeo against claims for taking down channel for objectionable content.
- Young America's Foundation v. Covino (C.D. Cal. 2016). Successfully defended the First Amendment rights of a diverse group of faculty and staff at Cal State L.A. from claims brought by a conservative group and commentator.
- Jones Day v. MediaNews Group, 78 U.S.P.Q. 1130, 34 Med. L. Rptr. 1411 (Cal. Ct. App. 2005). Successfully defended Oakland Tribune in a case involving reporting on California’s voting machines, where the Court held that California’s anti-SLAPP statute applies to a request to turn over material given to a newspaper reporter.
- Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Ass’n, 131 S.Ct. 2729 (2011). Counsel for amicus curiae First Amendment Coalition arguing against the creation of a new category of unprotected violent speech in the context of a law limiting the sale of video games.
- Bay Area News Group v. Tri-City Voice (Alameda Superior Court and Ct. App. 2011-13). Successfully represented local newspaper in four successive actions contesting standing of freely distributed newspaper as one of general circulation qualified to publish legal notices.
- Ariosta v. Fallbrook Union High Sch. Dist., 2009 WL 1604569 (S.D. Cal. June 4, 2009). As counsel for journalism students and their teacher, secured a favorable settlement following censorship of a student newspaper, and a ruling striking many defenses raised by school district.