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Admitted to Practice

  • New York
  • District of Columbia
  • California
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California

Deborah Adler

Debbie Adler has well over a decade of litigation experience and was recognized as a "New York Super Lawyer" in 2013 and 2014, and as a "New York Rising Star" by Super Lawyers magazine in 2012, in the areas of First Amendment and media litigation.

Debbie represents news and entertainment companies, as well as individual journalists, in a wide array of content-related disputes. Her practice involves claims of libel, copyright, DMCA, trademark, publicity/privacy, reporter’s privilege, and prior restraint. She has successfully litigated in state and federal trial courts as well as in numerous appellate courts.

Debbie advises newspapers and book publishers, websites, and television producers in connection with pre-publication and pre-broadcast review. As part of her counseling practice, she regularly performs pre-publication review in the newsroom of The New York Post. In the summer of 2011, she was seconded as the Senior Vice President for Intellectual Property and Litigation of MTV Networks.

She has also served as a secretary and then member, for the New York City Bar Committee for Communications and Media Law.

Representative Experience

Agence France Presse v. Morel

Represented Getty Images, as well as The Washington Post and CBS in earlier stages, in litigation arising from wire service Agence France Presse's use of photographs of Haitian earthquake posted on Twitpic, a social networking application. AFP licensed the images to Getty Images, who licensed them to CBS, the Washington Post and other news outlets. A motion to dismiss resulted in dismissal of Morel’s Lanham Act claims. Summary judgment and other pre-trial motions significantly narrowed the scope of available relief on the remaining (copyright and DMCA) claims. Following a jury verdict for Morel at trial on those claims, defendants won post-verdict motions, overturning the jury’s verdict on one of the DMCA claims and denying Morel’s claim for attorney’s fees in its entirety. (S.D.N.Y. 2015)

Enjaian v. ALM Media Properties

Represented ALM Media Properties, Inc. and an individual journalist and editor against libel claims arising out of the National Law Journal’s publication of a fair report of the plaintiff’s previous litigation. In 2013, plaintiff sued the University of Michigan, a member of its campus police, and a law school classmate of his, alleging that after his classmate reported him to campus police for criminal stalking behavior, the campus police unreasonably searched his apartment and seized various items in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. The National Law Journal reported on the dismissal of plaintiff’s lawsuit. The article, titled “Law School Alum, Accused of Stalking, Loses Suit Against U. Michigan,” was published on the National Law Journal’s website on July 28, 2014. The reporter also posted a tweet on Twitter, linking to the article, stating “Judge tosses lawsuit brought by Michigan Law alum accused of stalking former classmate.” Plaintiff claimed that the article’s headline and the tweet inform readers that he was formally charged with criminal stalking. The Court granted the Defendants’ Special Motion to Strike the Amended Complaint under the California anti-SLAPP statute in its entirety and with prejudice. (N.D. Cal., 2014)

Cruise v. Bauer Publishing, et al.

Counsel representing all defendants in libel action brought by Tom Cruise arising out of reporting in "In Touch" and "Life & Style" that he had "abandoned" his daughter. Amicably resolved following discovery. (C.D. Cal. 2013)

Fleisher v. Gawker Media LLC and Gothamist LLC, et al.

Successfully defeated plaintiff's request for a temporary injunction that would have required websites to take down certain articles and accompanying reader comments and ultimately obtained pre-discovery dismissal of the claim, affirmed on appeal. (N.Y. Sup. Ct. and App. Div. 2011-2013)

Rodrigues v. NY Daily News, et al.

Represented the New York Post, Maxim Magazine and the New York Daily News against defamation claims arising from articles reporting on plaintiff’s arrest and release on charges of murdering her husband, a famous light-weight championship boxer, and which she claims falsely described her as a former stripper and exotic dancer. (D.N.J., 2012)

Klig v. Harper’s Magazine Foundation

Obtained dismissal of libel claims against Harper’s Magazine Foundation arising from the publication of correspondence that had been attached to a criminal complaint against the plaintiff, which charged him with extortion and stalking of an ex-girlfriend through a series of anonymous letters and emails that threatened to expose a supposed sex tape if she did not comply with his demand that she send him nude photos of herself. Court granted dismissal based upon fair report privilege and opinion grounds. 2011 NY Slip Op 31173 (Nassau Cnty, Sup. Ct. 2011)

Diaz v. NBC Universal, Inc.

Defended Universal Pictures in obtaining dismissal of libel class action based on the film 'American Gangster,' obtained dismissal of all claims, which was affirmed by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. (S.D.N.Y. 2009, 2d Cir 2010) Read more

Maharam v. Little, Brown, et al.

Represented Little, Brown, and author James Patterson in copyright infringement action arising out of children's book "SantaKid." Summary judgment granted and affirmed by 2nd Circuit. 2010 WL 827088 (2d Cir. 2010)

Salinger v. Colting

Represented J.D. Salinger in a copyright infringement action against the author, publisher and distributor of a self-proclaimed sequel to "The Catcher in the Rye." Motion for preliminary injunction was granted and appealed to the 2nd Circuit where the matter was vacated and remanded. Permanent injunction entered; case settled. 641 F. Supp. 2d 250 (S.D.N.Y., 2d Cir. 2010)

Stern v. Rita Cosby, Hachette Book Group USA

Represented Rita Cosby in libel action brought by Howard K. Stern, former partner of Anna Nicole Smith, arising out of Cosby's book "Blonde Ambition." (S.D.N.Y. 2009)

Atrium Group v. Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

Won dismissal of Lanham Act and unfair competition claims in a dispute over the publication of U.S. versions of Spanish books. Action subsequently settled. 565 F. Supp. 2d 505 (S.D.N.Y. 2008)

Miller v. Holtzbrinck Publishers

Successfully defended publisher and co-author of novel against claims of fraudulent inducement, conversion and tortious interference by plaintiff who alleged that novel plagiarized plaintiff's manuscript. Case was dismissed. 2010 WL 1932322 (S.D.N.Y. 2008)

Time Inc., et al. v. Budd, et al.

Represented magazine publishers in copyright and trademark infringement action against website described as 'Napster for the magazine industry.' (S.D.N.Y. 2008) Read more

Planned Parenthood Fed. of America, et al. v. Ashcroft*

Member of plaintiffs' successful trial team (prior to reversal by the Supreme Court); included successful opposition to the production of 1,000 medical records on grounds of informational privacy. (2004)

Standard & Poors for Standard & Poors

Represented financial reporting company in assertion of the reporter's privilege.

Xiu Xiu v. Rolling Stone

Represented magazine in right of publicity claim.
* Denotes experience completed at a prior firm

Additional Qualifications

  • Secondment, Senior Vice President, Intellectual Property and Litigation, MTV Networks, May-July, 2011

Professional & Community Activities

  • Secretary, Committee on Communications and Media Law, New York City Bar Association, 2008-2011 
  • Correspondent for the Class of '96, Stanford Alumni Association

Professional Recognition

  • Selected to "New York Rising Stars," Thomson Reuters, 2012
  • Selected to "New York Super Lawyers," Thomson Reuters, 2013-2015