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SLAPP Litigation

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 union has appealed. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2013; Cal. App. Ongoing)

Tousignant v. Gawker Media

Defending Gawker against defamation, false-light, invasion-of-privacy, and right of publicity claims arising from reporting about former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s admission that he fathered a child by a former staff member. Gawker has filed an anti-SLAPP motion asking the court to dismiss all four claims. (C.D. Cal. Ongoing)

Abbas v. Foreign Policy Group, LLC et al

Submitted amicus brief on behalf of coalition of media organizations and trade associations urging D.C. Circuit to hold that Washington, D.C.’s anti-SLAPP law applies in federal court. (D.C. Cir. 2014)

Beckham v. Bauer Publishing

Successfully defended Bauer, publisher of "In Touch Weekly," in a defamation lawsuit filed by soccer star David Beckham over article reporting on alleged tryst with a call girl. In Touch was awarded its attorneys' fees under California's anti-SLAPP statute. The 9th Circuit dismissed Beckham's appeal on jurisdiction grounds and after further proceedings below the action is now on appeal in the 9th Circuit. (C.D. Cal., 9th Cir. 2014)

Davis, et al. v. Cox, et al.

Defended Olympia Food Cooperative’s current and former board members against claims that they unlawfully enacted a boycott of Israeli products. The trial court granted the defendants’ motion to strike under Washington’s anti-SLAPP statute, and awarded them their attorneys’ fees and $10,000 each in statutory damages. The Court of Appeals affirmed, rejecting the plaintiffs’ arguments that the anti-SLAPP law is unconstitutional. Davis v. Cox, --- Wn. App. --- (Apr. 7, 2014)

Intercon Solutions, Inc. v. Basel Action Network et al

Submitted amicus brief on behalf of coalition of media organizations and trade associations urging 7th Circuit to hold that Washington's anti-SLAPP law applies in federal court and that the collateral order doctrine permits immediate appeal from denial of an anti-SLAPP motion. (7th Cir. 2014)

Farah v. Esquire Magazine

Involved in defense of libel claim for a satirical blog post about the book "Where’s the Birth Certificate?"; obtained first federal dismissal under new D.C. Anti-SLAPP Act and Rule 12(b)(6) for "satirical commentary." 863 F. Supp. 2d 29 (D.D.C. 2012). The D.C. Circuit affirmed dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6), holding that the blog post was satire protected by the First Amendment, that an update to the blog and the author’s comments were protected opinion, and that the Lanham Act did not apply to the blog post, establishing in the D.C. Circuit that the Lanham Act applies only to commercial speech. 736 F.3d 528 (D.C. Cir. 2013)

Hanks v. A&E Television Networks

Defended A&E Television Networks in lawsuit brought by a heckler who was confronted by Bristol Palin during the filming of her television program, "Bristol Palin: Life’s a Tripp," claiming that his privacy was invaded by the disclosure that he is gay. The network’s SLAPP motion was granted, and court awarded 100% of the fees requested by AETN. (Cal. Super. Ct. 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)

Sherrod v. Breitbart, 3M v. Davis

Represented as amici 18 leading media organizations and professional associations seeking to reverse a decision declining to apply the speech protective provisions of the recently enacted D.C. Anti SLAPP Act in federal diversity actions as conflicting with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. 843 F. Supp. 2d 83 (D.D.C. 2012), __ F.3d __, No. 11-7088 (D.C. Cir. June 25, 2013)

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)

Bertsch v. Twentieth Century Fox Television, et al.

Represented Fox entities and Rupert Murdoch in lawsuit brought by plaintiff alleging that the film "Donnie Darko" and television series "The X-Files" and "Burn Notice" were based on his life. A day after defendants filed an anti-SLAPP motion, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed his lawsuit with prejudice. (W.D. Wash. 2012)

Buzz Aldrin v. The Topps Company

Successfully defended The Topps Company against right-of-publicity claims filed by astronaut Buzz Aldrin arising from Topps' use of Aldrin's name and likeness in the Topps American Heritage: American Heroes trading-card set and on the cover, and packaging of that work. The court recognized (for the first time within the 9th Circuit) that trading cards are constitutionally protected expressive works, granted Topps' anti-SLAPP motion, and dismissed the claims. Aldrin agreed to dismiss his appeal in exchange for Topps’ waiver of its right to recover fees. (C.D. Cal., 9th Cir. 2012)

Davis v. Avvo, Inc.

Represented lawyer ratings website on unfair competition, misappropriation, and related claims brought by disgruntled attorney. Court granted special motion to strike the complaint under Washington's anti-SLAPP statute, awarding the defendant its attorneys' fees and the $10,000 statutory penalty. (W.D. Wash. 2012)

Dinsmore v. George et al.

Represented several individuals in lawsuit alleging they defamed the plaintiff by confronting him about his anger management problem and asking him to get help. After defendants brought an anti-SLAPP motion to strike the complaint, the court significantly limited discovery. The plaintiff then voluntarily dismissed his lawsuit. (2012)

Lindgren v. Microsoft

Defended Microsoft against right-of-publicity, false light, and unfair competition claims arising from MSN.com article that used plaintiff’s likeness without his permission. The court granted Microsoft’s SLAPP motion, finding that MSN.com’s conduct was protected under California’s SLAPP statute and that plaintiff could not show a probability of prevailing on any of his claims. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2012)

Peterson v. Kellogg

Represented counterclaim defendant against libel and related claims stemming from his Better Business Bureau complaint and reviews about the plaintiff’s vintage Land Rover repair and restoration business. Defendant brought anti-SLAPP motion, and court denied plaintiff’s request to lift the discovery stay. Case settled later that day. (Thurston Cnty. (Wash.) Super. Ct. 2012)

Strouse-Johnson v. Penguin Group

Successfully defended Penguin and author Jillian Shriner against defamation, invasion of privacy, and other claims arising from the use of the plaintiff's photograph in a promotion for book "Some Girls: My Life in a Harem," which recounted the author's experiences in a royal harem in Brunei. The court granted Penguin and Ms. Shriner's anti-SLAPP motion and dismissed all of the plaintiff's claims with prejudice. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2012)

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)

Castello v. City of Seattle

Obtained dismissal of defamation and related claims and award of attorneys' fees and costs under Washington's recently enacted anti-SLAPP statute, where claims arose from statements a public employee allegedly made to her superiors, a co-worker, and a local television station. 2011 WL 219671, 39 Media L. Rep. 1601 (W.D.Wash. 2011)

Herpin v. Simon & Schuster

Successfully defended Simon & Schuster and child star Jodie Sweetin against false-light lawsuit filed by her ex-husband based on her memoir. The plaintiff dismissed his lawsuit with prejudice after defendants filed their anti-SLAPP motion. (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)

Aronson v. Dog Eat Dog Films, Inc.

Successfully represented a film production company in motion to dismiss invasion of privacy and misappropriation claims relating to the documentary film 'Sicko.' This was the first substantive decision to apply Washington's new anti-SLAPP statute, which provided important procedural safeguards for media entities and others against unwarranted and meritless suits that stem from the exercise of defendants' First Amendment rights. 738 F.Supp.2d 1104 ( W.D. Wash. 2010)

Brooks v. San Francisco Chronicle

As local counsel, using the anti-SLAPP statute, obtained the dismissal of a libel lawsuit filed by an elected Oakland City Councilwoman. The action challenged one sentence in a column that recounted law enforcement investigations of the plaintiff. The trial and court of appeal unanimously upheld the challenged statement as absolutely privileged as a 'fair and true' report of an official proceeding. (2010)

Rivera v. First Data Bank

As local counsel, using the anti-SLAPP statute, obtained the dismissal of wrongful death claims brought against First Databank, a medical publisher, on the grounds that First Databank's drug monograph was protected by the First Amendment. 187 Cal. App. 4th 709 (2010)

Rooke v. MTV Networks

Successfully defended MTV Networks in an invasion of privacy, trespass, and negligence lawsuit arising from the production and broadcast of the popular reality television series "The Hills." MTV moved to strike the plaintiff-homeowner's claims under California's SLAPP statute. After the court dismissed the privacy and trespass claims the homeowner voluntarily dismissed all of his claims against MTV to avoid liability for MTV's attorneys' fees. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2010)

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)

Stewart v. Rolling Stone LLC

Lead counsel representing Rolling Stone in right of publicity claims brought as a putative class action arising out of a gatefold editorial feature. On appeal, the Court of Appeals found that Rolling Stone’s editorial feature did not inadvertently become commercial speech because it was surrounded by cigarette advertising and granted Rolling Stone’s anti-SLAPP motion, dismissing the action. Rolling Stone's "Indie Rock Universe" Editorial Feature Gets First Amendment Protection, 02.01.10 (Cal. Ct. App. 2010)

Newspaper representation

Defended newspaper client against claims for defamation and intentional interference with economic relations and obtained dismissal via an anti-SLAPP motion, including an award of attorney fees. (2009)

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)

Connor v. Long Beach Memorial Medical Center*

Obtained dismissal of physician's wrongful peer review lawsuit, and award of attorneys' fees, by prevailing on anti-SLAPP motion. (L.A. Cnty. (Cal.) Super. Ct. 2008)

Lopes v. Bay Area News Group, Argus

Obtained order striking libel complaint under anti-SLAPP and awarding attorneys' fees in libel case stemming from paper's reporting of candidate's background and qualifications for office. (Alameda Cnty. (Cal.) Sup. Ct. 2008)

Spears v. Us Weekly

Successfully defended "Us Weekly" against libel claim by Britney Spears. The court granted the magazine's anti-SLAPP motion, dismissed the lawsuit, and awarded the magazine its attorneys' fees. (Cal. Sup. Ct. 2007) Read more

Gardner v. Clear Channel Communications

Obtained dismissal of defamation and invasion of privacy claims. (2006)

Kibler v. Northern Inyo County Local Hospital District*

Represented Catholic Healthcare West and the Regents of the University of California as amici curiae in support of the hospital district in this California Supreme Court case involving applicability of California's anti-SLAPP law to hospital peer review proceedings; the Supreme Court cited our brief in its opinion holding that the anti-SLAPP statute does protect peer review. 39 Cal. 4th 192 (2006)

Chachoua v. NBC, et al

Defended news organizations against defamation action by controversial doctor. The court granted the defendants' anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss and awarded attorneys' fees. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2004)

Seelig v. Infinity Broadcasting

Obtained dismissal of libel claim brought by contestant on 'Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?' reality-television program against live morning radio program, establishing appellate precedent for the broad application of California's anti-SLAPP statute. 97 Cal. App. 4th 798 (2002)

Thomas v. Los Angeles Times Communications

Obtained order granting newspaper's special motion to strike defamation claims arising from article evaluating possibly exaggerated claims of heroism by World War II figure. Affirmed by 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. (C.D. Cal., 9th Cir. 2002)

American Humane Association v. Los Angeles Times

Represented newspaper in defeating attempt by plaintiff to enjoin publication of allegedly privileged materials. (Cal. App. 2001) Read more

Weason v. Paramount

Defended production company and talk show host against defamation and privacy lawsuits by celebrity's former girlfriend. The California court granted the defendants' anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss, and the Wisconsin court dismissed suit there as well. (W.D. Wis. 2001)

Dieterich v. Time Inc.

Represented Time Inc. and People Magazine successfully against a defamation suit, involving a profiled couple who were suing their doctor for a wrongful birth and their quoted comments regarding his negligence. Also successful in our anti-SLAPP motion against the doctor, and obtained attorney's fees for our client.

Northon, et al. v. Ann Rule, et al.

Defended defamation and false light claims in federal district court and on appeal. Dismissal in district court was affirmed on appeal. (2007-2010)

Ohana v. TMZ.com

Defended entertainment news Web site and television program in defamation and privacy lawsuit by student injured in drunk-driving accident involving television star. Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the suit after TMZ filed its anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss. (L.A. Cnty. (Cal.) Super. Ct.)
* Denotes experience completed at a prior firm