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Admitted to Practice

  • California, 2010
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California, 2012
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, 2011
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California, 2013
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of California, 2016

Dan Laidman


Dan Laidman focuses his practice on media, First Amendment, and intellectual property litigation and counseling, including defamation, newsgathering, prior restraint, reporter’s privilege, records and courtroom access, privacy, right of publicity, copyright, and trademark issues. He also advises newspaper, Internet, radio, and television clients on pre-publication and pre-broadcast legal issues. Dan serves on the board of directors of the nonprofit open government group Californians Aware, and on the Davis Wright Tremaine Pro Bono Committee.

Prior to practicing law, Dan worked as a newspaper reporter.

Representative Experience

City of Inglewood v. Teixeira

Successfully defended citizen-activist in a copyright suit brought by the City of Inglewood arising from his use of clips of city council meetings in critical YouTube videos. The district court found that California government agencies cannot enforce copyright in public records absent specific statutory authorization, and that the action independently was barred by the fair use doctrine. The court dismissed the city’s complaint with prejudice and awarded attorneys’ fees under the Copyright Act. (C.D. Cal. 2015)

Public.Resource.Org v. IRS

Successfully represented government transparency advocacy group in Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that compelled the IRS to make Form 990 tax returns of all nonprofit organizations available in modern electronic format. Secured precedential rulings holding that FOIA applies to such requests, 50 F. Supp. 3d 1212, and clarifying agencies' disclosure obligations under the Electronic Freedom of Information Amendments, 78 F. Supp. 3d 1262. As a result of this litigation, the IRS will make all Form 990s nationwide available in modern electronic format. (N.D. Cal. 2015)

Los Angeles Times Communications, LLC v. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission

Represented the Los Angeles Times in a lawsuit against the joint state-county-city agency that operates the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge found that the Commission violated the open meetings law by holding numerous improper closed sessions related to a deal to transfer long-term control of the Coliseum to the University of Southern California, and that the agency violated the Public Records Act by withholding and delaying disclosure of numerous records requested by The Times. The judge ordered the Commission to produce the documents and to record its closed sessions for three years, in addition to other injunctive and declaratory relief. The Commission elected not to appeal the ruling, and agreed to pay The Times more than $340,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2013)

Marken v. Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District

Represented a UCLA Professor in a California Public Records Act lawsuit to obtain access to public records of a high school teacher disciplined by the SMMUSD. 202 Cal. App. 4th 1250 (2012)

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)

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)

Crews v. Willows Unified Sch. Dist.

Represented media amici in matter of first impression under the Public Records Act resulting in published opinion reversing trial court order awarding attorney fees against public records requester and in favor of public agency unsuccessfully sued for withholding public records. 217 Cal. App. 4th 1368 (2013)

In re Marriage of McCourt

Represented the Los Angeles Times in successfully opposing a motion to seal court records related to the ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Times intervened in the divorce case of the team’s former owners, Frank and Jamie McCourt, to oppose an effort by the new owner to seal a document describing Frank McCourt’s ongoing financial arrangement with the team. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge denied the motion and ordered the record unsealed. (Cal. Super. Ct. 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 percent of the fees requested by AETN. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2013)

Brownmark Films v. Comedy Partners

Successfully defended Comedy Central, South Park Digital Studios, and other defendants against a copyright-infringement claim arising from "South Park's" parody of the Internet viral video "What What in the Butt." The district court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss, finding that "South Park's" use of the plaintiffs' video was protected as a fair use under Section 107 of the Copyright Act. The court also granted the defendants’ fee motion. Plaintiffs appealed the dismissal to the 7th Circuit, which affirmed the district court’s "well-reasoned and delightful opinion," and unequivocally held that "South Park's" parody was a fair use. Importantly, the 7th Circuit instructed that the fair-use defense may be decided without discovery in appropriate cases—something that other circuits have resisted—enabling content creators to avoid long and burdensome litigation. (E.D. Wis., 7th Cir. 2012)

David Boorstein v. Men’s Journal, LLC

Defended magazine publisher in one of the first wave of privacy class actions under California's "Shine the Light" law—which relates to the practice of businesses sharing personal information about their customers so third parties can directly market to them. The plaintiff claimed that the Men’s Journal website privacy policy did not satisfy certain notice requirements in the statute. Won dismissal with prejudice at the pleading stage based upon plaintiff's failure to allege any cognizable injury, and obtained precedential decisions that have been cited in other "Shine the Light" cases. After Plaintiff appealed, appellate briefing was completed, and the court announced it would rule without oral argument, case was resolved and the appeal was dismissed. (C.D. Cal.; 9th Cir. 2011-2014)

Additional Qualifications

  • Law Clerk, Hon. Kim McLane Wardlaw, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, Pasadena, Calif., 2010-2011
  • Summer Associate, Davis Wright Tremaine, Los Angeles, 2009
  • Extern, National Public Radio, Washington, D.C., 2009
  • Law Clerk, Housing Rights Center, Los Angeles, 2008