DECEMBER 11, 2017 – Davis Wright Tremaine partners Peter Karanjia and Kelli Sager have been named 2017 "MVPs of the Year" by Law360 in Telecommunications and Media & Entertainment law, respectively.

This is the third straight year that Mr. Karanjia has received the recognition and the second straight year that a Davis Wright Tremaine lawyer has been recognized in Media & Entertainment. Just five lawyers nationwide were named 2017 MVPs in each of these practice areas.

Mr. Karanjia, who practices from our Washington, D.C., office, serves as co-chair of Davis Wright Tremaine’s appellate practice group and is a member of the firm’s communications, media, IP & technology group and its privacy & security group. He was formerly deputy general counsel at the Federal Communications Commission, where he was responsible for overseeing all of the agency’s litigation.

His many successes on behalf of clients this past year included:

  • Arguing before the D.C. Circuit on behalf of the country’s largest wireless industry trade association (CTIA), and in support of the FCC, in a challenge to the FCC’s substitution of an incumbent vendor—which was charging more than $450M per year—for a contract overseeing phone numbers. The Court affirmed the FCC decision, which will result in significant cost savings for wireless consumers and CTIA members.
  • Arguing before the 8th Circuit on behalf of the country’s largest cable and broadband provider trade association (the National Cable & Telecommunications Association), and in support of the FCC, in a challenge to an FCC order that limited the rates utilities could charge for utility-pole attachments. The Court upheld the FCC’s order, which will help promote broadband expansion and save providers $150-$200M a year.
  • Representing Comcast in a case pursued by a coalition of communication providers, challenging an order by the California Public Utilities Commission to turn over sensitive business data to third parties in an administrative proceeding. As a result of the litigation, the Commission closed its administrative proceeding—ensuring that the data’s confidentiality was preserved.

Ms. Sager, who practices from our Los Angeles office, has more than 30 years of litigation experience representing television and radio broadcasters, cable companies, motion picture producers and distributors, newspapers and magazines, book authors, Internet companies, and Web publishers, both at the trial and appellate level of federal and state courts.

Her many successes on behalf of clients this past year included:

  • Representing T3Media (now Wazee Digital), the primary licensing entity for NCAA copyrighted photographs and videos, in a nationwide class action brought by former college athletes for misappropriation and related claims. After winning an anti-SLAPP motion in federal district court dismissing the entire case on copyright preemptions grounds, she argued before the 9th Circuit, which unanimously affirmed.
  • Winning dismissal of a nationally watched lawsuit filed by Richard Simmons against the publisher of the National Enquirer and RadarOnline over articles claiming he was transitioning to become a woman. The trial judge granted Ms. Sager’s special motion to strike, finding that, absent proof of special damages, "misidentification of a person as transgender is not actionable defamation."
  • Successfully representing the Los Angeles Times, Tribune Media, and four current/former employees of the Times in a lawsuit brought by a former cartoonist, who sued for defamation and wrongful termination after the Times stopped publishing his work and explained to readers the reason for its decision. The defendants’ special motions to strike under California’s SLAPP law were granted and they have been awarded more than $350,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs.

Ms. Sager’s previous 2017 honors include being named one of just two “Star Individuals” in Nationwide First Amendment Litigation by Chambers USA, being named to the Hollywood Reporter’s “Power Lawyers” list, and being named Los Angeles “Lawyer of the Year” in First Amendment Law by Best Lawyers.

Karanjia and Sager will each be the subject of a Law360 profile in the coming weeks.

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