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Admitted to Practice

  • California, 2004
  • Supreme Court of California, 2004
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit, 2004
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California, 2004
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California, 2004
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of California, 2004
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California, 2005

Karen A. Henry

Karen is an accomplished litigator, who passionately defends the First Amendment freedoms of creators and distributors of a wide variety of entertainment content, from television programs to videogames. Litigating in state and federal court, Karen strategically leverages California’s anti-SLAPP statute and other speech-protective defenses and procedural devices to defeat a host of claims brought against content creators and publishers, including claims for copyright-infringement, right-of-publicity, idea submission, defamation, and Lanham Act violations.

In addition, Karen helps to foster the free flow of information to the public by utilizing California’s Public Records Act and other state and federal rules to compel the disclosure of public and judicial records, and to ensure that the operations of our courts remain open to public view and scrutiny.

Karen also uses her deep understanding of California’s newspaper adjudication statutes to keep local papers in business, either by qualifying such papers as newspapers of general circulation or by battling adjudication challenges brought by those papers’ competitors.

Representative Experience

Selected Copyright and Trademark Litigation

Raffaelli v. Getty Images, Inc.

Defended Getty Images against copyright-infringement and other claims brought by rock-photographer Ron Raffaelli, arising from the display and licensing of certain photographs of legendary rock musician Jimi Hendrix and other famous rock musicians from the 1960s. (C.D. Cal. 2014)

Collier v. Black Entertainment Television, et al.

Defended BET and Film Garden Entertainment in a copyright-infringement action arising from the use of plaintiff’s fashion photographs in a reality-television series. The case was resolved days after BET and Film Garden filed their motion for summary judgment. (C.D. Cal. 2012)

Dane v. Gawker Media

Defended Gawker Media in a copyright-infringement lawsuit filed by actors Eric Dane and Rebecca Gayheart, based on's publication of a news item. In December 2009, the district court granted Gawker's motion to strike plaintiffs' claims for statutory damages and attorneys' fees. (C.D. Cal. 2010)

Selected Right of Publicity Litigation

Maloney v. T3Media, Inc.

Represented T3Media, a provider of digital hosting and licensing services, in a right-of-publicity lawsuit brought by two former college athletes on behalf of a putative class based on the display and licensing of NCAA photographs on a website owned by T3Media. District court granted T3Media’s SLAPP motion and subsequent fee motion. Plaintiffs appealed, and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed the lower court’s ruling. Plaintiffs subsequently agreed to pay an additional fee award. (C.D. Cal., 9th Cir. 2017)

Jim Brown v. Electronic Arts

Defended Electronic Arts in nine-year right-of-publicity and trademark litigation by former NFL star Jim Brown, who challenged EA’s use of his alleged likeness in its "Madden NFL" video game. After the 9th Circuit affirmed the dismissal of Brown’s Lanham Act claim, he re-filed his state-law right-of-publicity claims in Superior Court. After the Superior Court denied EA’s anti-SLAPP motion, EA appealed to the California Court of Appeal arguing that the existing balancing tests applied in right-of-publicity cases are not sufficiently protective of speech, and that courts should treat the right-of-publicity as a content-based restriction on speech that is subject to almost-always-fatal strict constitutional scrutiny. The matter was resolved informally while the appeal was pending. (2016)

Keller v. Electronic Arts

Represented EA in the district court and 9th Circuit in key right-of-publicity case. The district court denied EA's special motion to strike the plaintiff's claims arising from EA's use of the former college quarterback's likeness in its "NCAA Football" video game. The case, which was consolidated for appeal with Brown v. Electronic Arts, pitted the game publisher's First Amendment rights against celebrities' right-of-publicity. (C.D. Cal., 9th Cir. 2009-2013)

Sarver v. Chartier

Represented Motion Picture Association of America and Entertainment Merchants Association, who filed amicus brief in 9th Circuit right-of-publicity case arising from the Oscar-winning film, “The Hurt Locker.” The panel adopted amici’s rationale that right-of-publicity claims based on expressive works are content-based restrictions of First Amendment rights, which require application of the constitutional strict scrutiny test. 813 F.3d 891 (9th Cir. 2016)

Michael Davis, et al. v. Electronic Arts

Represented Electronic Arts in the 9th Circuit in an appeal of order denying EA’s special motion to strike right-of-publicity claims targeting alleged use of retired NFL players’ alleged likenesses in Madden NFL video game. Oral argument focused the panel on the threshold issue of whether the right-of-publicity, when applied to expressive works like films, books, and video games, is a content-based regulation that should be subject to strict constitutional scrutiny. The panel found that it was bound by previous 9th Circuit authority and affirmed the district court’s decision. In its next major right-of-publicity opinion, however, the 9th Circuit adopted EA’s argument that California’s right-of-publicity statute is a content-based restriction on speech that is subject to strict scrutiny. (2016)

Lindgren v. Microsoft

Defended Microsoft against right-of-publicity, false light, and unfair competition claims arising from's article that used plaintiff’s likeness without his permission. The court granted Microsoft’s SLAPP motion, finding that’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)

Hilton v. Hallmark Cards

Represented several video game publishers as amici counsel in connection with rehearing petition in 9th Circuit in right-of-publicity case arising from the use of Paris Hilton's likeness on a parodic greeting card. The court modified its original opinion, adopting amici's arguments. (9th Cir. 2010)

Selected Idea Submission Litigation

Jordan-Benel v. Universal City Studios, LLC

Representing Universal City Studios and other production companies in idea submission litigation arising from the production and distribution of the full-length feature film, “The Purge,” and its sequel “The Purge: Anarchy.” (C.D. Cal., 9th Cir. Ongoing)

O'Neil v. Oxygen Media Interactive LLC, et al.

Defended Oxygen Media, LLC and others against idea submission claims arising from the production and distribution of the successful reality-television programs, “Tori & Dean: sTORIbook Weddings,” and “Best Ink.” (Cal. Super. Ct. 2014)

Krabbe v. Discovery Communications

Defended Discovery Communications against idea submission claims arising from the successful television docu-series, “Weed Wars.” (Cal. Super. Ct. 2013)

Genuine Entertainment, Inc. v. Seagal, et al.

Represented A&E Television Networks, LLC, actor Steven Seagal, ICM, and other defendants in a lawsuit arising from AETN's successful television docu-series, "Steven Seagal: Lawman." (Cal. Super. Ct. 2011)

Mete v. Showtime Networks

Defended Showtime Networks against idea-submission lawsuit filed by woman who pitched idea for online reality program. Court sustained Showtime’s demurrer to complaint without leave to amend, and entered judgment in favor of Showtime. Plaintiff dismissed her appeal voluntarily. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2010)

Selected Defamation/Invasion of Privacy Litigation

Tousignant v. Gawker Media

Represented Gawker Media, Associated Newspapers, Ltd. and others against claims for defamation, false light and invasion of privacy, arising from an article reporting that former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had fathered a child with a member of his staff. (C.D. Cal. 2012)

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 anti-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)

Ianni v. Courtroom Television Network, LLC

Represented Courtroom Television Network against defamation claims brought by a marriage and family therapist arising from the controversial reality show, “The Swan.” The court granted Courtroom Television’s anti-SLAPP motion, and ordered plaintiff to pay Courtroom Television’s attorneys’ fees. (C.D. Cal. 2008)

Selected Newspaper Adjudication Litigation

In re Petition of Melinda Kimsey

Represented Publisher of the Gateway Guardian in its successful petition for an order adjudging the paper a newspaper of general circulation for Los Angeles County. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2016)

In re Petition of David Miller

Represented Publisher of Our Weekly in successfully defeating a motion to vacate the order adjudging that paper a newspaper of general circulation. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2011)

In re Matter of Los Angeles Downtown News

Represented local paper in its successful petition for an order modifying the judgment establishing its standing as a newspaper of general circulation to reflect the title under which the paper currently publishes. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2010)

In re Petition of Ross Furukawa

Represented the publisher of the British Weekly in defeating petition to adjudge the Santa Monica Daily Press as a newspaper of general circulation. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2008)

In re Molz

Represented the California Newspaper Publishers Association as amicus curiae in an important newspaper adjudication case. The Court of Appeal allowed CNPA to participate in oral argument and issued a published decision adopting CNPA's position. 127 Cal. App. 4th 836 (2005)

Selected Access Litigation

Muslim Advocates

Representing nonprofit organization that battles anti-Muslim bigotry and discrimination in its efforts, pursuant to California’s Public Records Act, to obtain records from the Los Angeles Police Department about its initiative to “map” Muslim communities in Los Angeles County. (Cal. Super. Ct. Ongoing)

People v. Gwozdz

Represented CBS News in its successful petition to video tape the retrial of a murder case for later broadcast on the popular television series, “48 Hours.” (Cal. Super. Ct. 2014)

People v. Dorner

Represented The Press-Enterprise and The Los Angeles Times in obtaining the release of previously sealed arrest records in the criminal action filed by the Riverside District Attorney's Office against Christopher Dorner, a former LAPD officer and ex-US Naval Reservist accused of killing four people. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2013)

Board of Trustees of California v. Superior Court

Represented The Copley Press, publisher of the San Diego Union-Tribune, in a Public Records Act lawsuit against San Diego State University. The court ordered the university to release several documents, and awarded the newspaper its attorneys' fees and costs. 132 Cal. App. 4th 889 (2005)

Additional Qualifications

  • Courtroom Clerk, East Los Angeles Municipal Court, Alhambra Superior Court and Pasadena Superior Court, 1993-2003
  • Supervisor, Traffic, Criminal and Civil/Small Claims Departments, East Los Angeles Municipal Court, 1991-1993

Professional & Community Activities

  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation, 2016
  • Planning Committee, Fresh Start Expungement Clinic, sponsored by Crossroads UMC and Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, 2015-present
  • Co-chair, eNewsletter Committee, California Minority Counsel Program, 2016
  • Member, eNewsletter Committee, California Minority Counsel Program, 2015
  • Adjunct Professor at Southwestern Law School, teaching "Communication Tools for the New Lawyer"
  • Mentor, Dorsey High School Mentor Program, 2013
  • Legal Advisory Committee Member, Jenesse Center, Inc., 2011-2013
  • Judge, 2013 Moot Court Intramural Competition, Southwestern School of Law, 2013
  • Member, Governing Committee, ABA Forum on Communications Law, Current
  • Co-chairperson, ABA Forum on Communications Law Moot Court Competition, Current
  • Planning Committee, ABA Forum on Communications Law Moot Court Competition, 2008-2013
  • Advisory Committee Member, National Student Press Law Center, 2009
  • Luminary Circle Member, Step Up Women’s Network, 2011-2012
  • Member, Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Current
  • Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Current

Professional Recognition

  • Named one of the "Top 100 Black Lawyers" by the National Black Lawyers: Top 100, 2015-2016
  • Selected to "Southern California Rising Stars," in First Amendment/Media/Advertising, General Litigation, Thomson Reuters, 2013-2014
  • Recipient, Champion of Justice Award, Jenesse Center, 2013
  • Recipient, Volunteer of the Year Award for Early Care and Education Law Project, Public Counsel, 2008
  • Recipient, Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Legal Services, California State Bar, 2006
  • Nominee, Pro Bono Excellence Award, Davis Wright Tremaine, 2005