California Supreme Court Petitions for Review
County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors v. Superior Court (ACLU of Southern California, Real Party in Interest)
Drafted successful Petition for Review to California Supreme Court in case seeking access to invoices reflecting fees charged by outside counsel to the County in cases filed against the County alleging abuse and neglect of detainees. Pending.
State Department of Health v. Superior Court (Center for Investigative Reporting, Real Party in Interest)
Represented the Center for Investigative Reporting in successfully petitioning for review and obtaining unanimous decision from the California Supreme Court, requiring release of records of abuse and neglect of patients in California’s largest institutions for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled, with only patient names redacted. 60 Cal. 4th 940 (2015)
Club Members for an Honest Election v. Sierra Club
Obtained unanimous California Supreme Court ruling for Sierra Club, dismissing a lawsuit targeting the environmental organization's First Amendment-protected election activities, and establishing the precedent that the 'public interest' exemption (CCP 425.17(b)) to California's anti-SLAPP statute is to be narrowly construed to protect First Amendment activities. 45 Cal. 4th 309 (2008)
California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training v. Superior Court (Los Angeles Times Communications LLC, Real Party in Interest)
Represented the Los Angeles Times in a case involving the newspaper's attempts to obtain state records on police hiring under the California Public Records Act. In August 2007, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Times, in a precedent-setting decision that expansively interpreted the public's rights under the CPRA. 42 Cal. 4th 278 (Cal. 2007)
Taus v. Loftus
Obtained dismissal of claims (in the Court of Appeal and California Supreme Court) in complex defamation and invasion of privacy lawsuit against prominent psychologists and a national magazine arising from the scientific debate over 'repressed memories' of alleged sexual abuse. 40 Cal. 4th 683 (2007)
Other California Supreme Court Successes
Long Beach Police Officers' Association v. City of Long Beach
Represented the Los Angeles Times in the newspaper's attempts under the California Public Records Act to obtain records identifying officers involved in shooting incidents. In June 2014, the California Supreme Court ruled 6-1 in favor of the Times, holding that the press and public presumptively are entitled to the identities of officers involved in shooting incidents. 59 Cal. 4th 59 (Cal. 2014)
Simpson Strong-Tie v. Gore
Obtained unanimous California Supreme Court decision affirming the summary dismissal by the trial and appellate courts of a trade libel lawsuit arising from a plaintiff class action attorney's constitutionally-protected efforts to locate potential class representatives, which established the precedent that the 'commercial speech' exemption (CCP 425.17(c)) to California's anti-SLAPP statute is to be narrowly construed to protect First Amendment activities. 49 Cal. 4th 12 (2010)
California Supreme Court Amicus Briefs
Christoff v. Nestle USA, Inc.
Represented media coalition (Los Angeles Times Communications LLC, The Hearst Corporation, Viacom, Inc., The Associated Press, The California Newspaper Publishers Association, The California First Amendment Coalition, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and The Association of Alternative Newsweeklies) in amicus brief submitted to the California Supreme Court. The court unanimously held that the single publication rule applies to misappropriation claims in California. 47 Cal. 4th 468 (2009)
Lyle v. Warner Bros. Television Prods.
Represented media coalition (California Newspapers Publishers Association, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, The Daily Journal Corporation, The Copley Press, Inc., Los Angeles Times Communications LLC, California First Amendment Coalition, Freedom Communications, Inc., and The American Society of Newspaper Editors) in amicus brief submitted to the California Supreme Court advocating for broad protection against harassment liability for employers involved in the creation of speech. Court rejected claims by employee. 38 Cal. 4th 264 (2006)
Shively v. Bozanich
Represented media coalition (California Newspaper Publishers Association, Los Angeles Times Communications, LLC, The Copley Press, Inc., ABC, Inc., Magazine Publishers of America, Inc., News America, Inc., Cable News Network, National Broadcasting Company, Inc., and Time Inc.) in amicus brief submitted to the California Supreme Court advocating for broad interpretation of California's single publication rule. Court adopted reasoning of amicus brief in rejecting claims as time-barred. 31 Cal. 4th 1230 (2003)
U.S. Supreme Court Experience
Air Wisconsin Airlines Corp. v. Hoeper
Submitted amicus brief on behalf of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and a coalition of media organizations, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hold that material falsity is required to show "reckless disregard for the truth" under statutory immunity incorporating the New York Times v. Sullivan actual malice standard. (U.S. 2013)
Hollingsworth v. Perry
Represented national media coalition in expedited proceedings over the course of a week in the U.S. District Court, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Chief Judge Vaughn Walker's proposal to broadcast trial proceedings to five overflow courtrooms in five cities and to make the proceedings publicly available on YouTube.com in this landmark federal constitutional challenge to California's Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage. Read the Media Coalition's U.S. Supreme Court brief.
558 U.S. 183 (2010)
City of Ontario v. Quon
Represented national media coalition (Los Angeles Times Communications LLC, The Press-Enterprise Company, The Associated Press, The E.W. Scripps Company, the California Newspapers Publishers Association, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the First Amendment Coalition, and Californians Aware) in amicus brief addressing issues regarding access to public employee text messages. The Supreme Court rejected the employee’s claims against the City based on its review of the messages. 560 U.S. 746 (2010).
Other Representative Experience
Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs v. Los Angeles Times
Successfully defended against an effort by the union representing Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies to restrain the Los Angeles Times from publishing information from Sheriff’s Department background investigative files. The court granted the Times’ SLAPP Motion after previously rejecting the union’s application for a temporary restraining order. The Court of Appeal affirmed in full. 239 Cal. App. 4th 808 (2015)
Pasadena Police Officers Association v. Superior Court (Los Angeles Times, Real Party in Interest)
Represented the Los Angeles Times on appeal, to obtain access to redacted copy of report evaluating the City of Pasadena’s investigation of and response to the fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager. 240 Cal. App. 4th 268 (2015)
Torres v. Cedars Sinai Medical Center
Represented defendants on appeal to obtain affirmance of summary judgment in action alleging race and national origin discrimination and harassment, wrongful discharge, and defamation. (Cal. Ct. App. 2014)
The Los Angeles Times v. The Regents of the University of California
Represented the Los Angeles Times and the Sacramento Bee in the Court of Appeal in a California Public Records Act lawsuit to compel public disclosure of the names of all UC Davis police officers involved in the pepper spraying of students protesting tuition increases at UC Davis in November, 2011. (2014)
Webquest v. Lupe Fuentes, LLC
Represented plaintiff on appeal to obtain affirmance of verdict against Licensor of copyrighted material and award of attorney’s fees. (Cal. Ct. App. 2014)
Coleman v. Brown
Represented the Los Angeles Times in a successful emergency petition to the 9th Circuit to vacate a prior restraint in a high-profile lawsuit about California’s treatment of mentally ill prisoners. The trial judge allowed videos to be shown in open court depicting guards using force against inmates, but barred anyone who viewed them from publicly disclosing the names of individuals shown in the videos. A unanimous 9th Circuit panel vacated the prior restraint. (9th Cir. 2013)
Doe v. Gangland Prods., Inc.
Represented A&E Television Networks, LLC and Gangland Productions, Inc., in defending against a lawsuit by a former gang member who claimed that he was misled into giving an on-camera interview. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals strongly affirmed the reach of California’s anti-SLAPP statute in holding that it applied to the claims asserted against Defendants, and struck two of those claims. 730 F.3d 946 (9th Cir. 2013)
Fazeli v. Bank of America
Represented Bank of America in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in workplace retaliation case involving manager who accused subordinate of sexual harassment. Appeals court affirmed district court’s grant of summary judgment to the Bank, holding that plaintiff failed to show that his protected conduct resulted in the termination of his employment. (C.D. Cal. 2011; 9th Cir. 2013)
Juan L. v. E.W. Scripps Co.
Represented daily newspapers in defending invasion of privacy claim based on publication of child abuse victim’s full name. Court of Appeal affirmed trial court’s dismissal under California's anti-SLAPP statute, finding that Plaintiff did not establish the elements of invasion of privacy and, alternatively, that the newspapers had a constitutional and statutory right to publish plaintiff’s name. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2011; Cal. Ct. App. 2013)
Jimenez v. Franklin
Represented a detainee who was beaten by deputies in the Los Angeles County Jail. Represented client during an 11-day jury trial, after which Mr. Jimenez was awarded compensatory and punitive damages and Davis Wright Tremaine was awarded attorney fees. (9th Cir. 2007) Subsequently represented Mr. Jimenez in a successful appeal regarding adjudication of disputed outstanding judgment amount, resulting in published opinion. 680 F.3d 1096 (9th Cir. 2012)
Young v. CBS Broadcasting
Counsel for CBS in a libel lawsuit involving more than a dozen allegedly libelous sentences, based on an investigative news broadcast that reported on problems arising in legal proceedings to conserve the elderly and infirm in California. The California Court of Appeal held that Plaintiff, a private conservator, was a public figure for purposes of the alleged libel and failed to establish actual malice, and ordered her claims stricken. 212 Cal. App. 4th 551 (2012)
Austin v. A&E Television Networks, LLC
Represented A&E Television Networks, LLC in defending privacy claim based on discussion of Plaintiff, including use of his photograph, in an episode of "Gangland." District Court dismissed case under California’s SLAPP statute. (C.D. Cal. 2012)
In re Clergy Cases
Represented the Los Angeles Times and Associated Press in their intervention into a long-running dispute regarding the release of documents reflecting the alleged abuse of children, and conduct by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in connection with that alleged abuse. Obtained the release of unredacted documents, which included the names of all members of the Church Hierarchy charged with supervising accused priests. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2012)
Rojo v. Holder
Represented petitioner, Fonseca Rojo, in appeal of Board of Immigration Appeals' ("BIA's") denial of his application for asylum and withholding of removal. The 9th Circuit overturned the BIA’s denial and held that Mr. Fonseca Rojo demonstrated a likelihood that he would be persecuted on the basis of his sexual orientation if he was returned to Chile, and therefore that he was statutorily eligible for asylum. 408 Fed.Appx. 73 (9th Cir. 2011)
Alexander v. A&E Television Networks, LLC
Represented A&E Television Networks, LLC, in defending defamation claim based on use of Plaintiff's photograph in an episode of "Gangland." District Court dismissed case under California's SLAPP statute. (E.D. Cal. 2011)
Los Angeles Times Communications & McClatchy Newspapers v. California Legislature
Represented the Los Angeles Times and McClatchy newspapers in landmark case seeking California Legislators' office budget records under the Legislative Open Records Act (LORA). The Court ordered the release of all records sought and the Legislature paid the Times and McClatchy’s attorneys’ fees incurred in securing the order. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2011)
Omidi v. Hiltzik; Omidi v. Pfeifer; Silverman v. Hiltzik, 1-800GET THIN LLC v. Hiltzik
Represented the Los Angeles Times in a series of related cases, all of which arose from The Times' reporting about two brothers, both former Beverly Hills surgeons, who began a lucrative weight-loss business. Omidi v. Hiltzik and Omidi v. Pfeifer alleged defamation based on reporting by The Times, and Silverman v. Hiltzik alleged illegal recording of phone conversations by a Times columnist. All three cases were thrown out on early motions under California's SLAPP law, and fees were awarded to the Times in each case. A fourth case alleging violations of federal trademark laws was also thrown out by a federal judge on an early motion. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2011; C.D. Cal. 2011)
Stewart v. Rolling Stone Magazine
Represented Rolling Stone Magazine to successfully dismiss right of publicity claims brought by a putative class of musicians that arose out of a gatefold editorial feature published adjacent to a cigarette advertisement. In this issue of first impression, the Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed plaintiffs' claims finding that the gatefold was protected under the First Amendment. 181 Cal. App. 4th 664 (2010)
In re subpoena issued to STF Productions, Inc.
Successfully defended America's Most Wanted television program against federal criminal defendant's pre-trial subpoena in murder case seeking unpublished video outtakes in nearly four-year dispute; subpoena withdrawn following favorable rulings by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. (9th Cir. 2007)
Ivanova v. Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Representation of Columbia Pictures in a six-party dispute regarding ownership of 39 classic Spanish-language motion pictures starring the Mexican actor Cantinflas. Columbia Pictures prevailed after a three-week trial; affirmed on appeal. 217 F.R.D. 501 (C.D.Cal. 2003), 387 F.3d 1099 (9th Cir. 2004), & 2004 WL 2487633 (9th Cir. Nov. 5, 2004) Read more
Gaggero v. Yura
Successfully represented prospective purchaser of real property in Court of Appeal, obtaining reversal of summary judgment motion entered against him in trial court, enabling him to pursue his claim for specific performance of the real estate contract. (2003)