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Admitted to Practice

  • California, 1998
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit, 1999
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California, 1999
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California, 2000
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California, 2000

Rochelle L. Wilcox

Vice Chair, Appellate Litigation Practice
Rochelle Wilcox, a California State Bar Certified Appellate Specialist, focuses her litigation and appeals practice on media law, including extensive experience with California's anti-SLAPP law, defense of defamation, invasion of privacy and newsgathering claims, and access and reporter's shield issues.

Rochelle’s practice also includes a full range of employment litigation on behalf of employers and general business litigation issues. Rochelle has broad experience in federal and state appellate courts in a wide array of issues and disputes.

Rochelle’s California Supreme Court experience includes participating in drafting six successful petitions for review, all of which had successful outcomes. Rochelle has been counsel for the winning party in her last eight cases before the California Supreme Court.

Representative Experience

California Supreme Court Petitions for Review

Hassell v. Bird (YELP Inc., Real Party in Interest)

Drafted successful petition for review to California Supreme Court and prevailed in that court, obtaining an opinion that reversed the appellate decision, which had been described as the worst opinion on 47 U.S.C. § 230 in the last year, and strongly affirmed the application of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to injunctions against website publishers. (Cal. 2018)

County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors v. Superior Court (ACLU of Southern California, Eric Preven, Real Parties in Interest)

Represented the ACLU of Southern California and Eric Preven in drafting successful petition for review and merits briefing in the California Supreme Court. The court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeal, holding that the public is entitled to obtain copies of invoices in closed cases reflecting fees charged by outside counsel to government agencies. Hear oral argument. (2016)

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

FilmOn.Com, Inc. v. DoubleVerify, Inc.

Filed amicus brief on behalf of the Motion Picture Association of America Inc., The Hearst Corporation, Tegna Inc., California News Publishers Association, and First Amendment Coalition arguing that DoubleVerify’s reports analyzing website content, which reports are prepared to assist customers in deciding where to spend internet advertising dollars, are noncommercial speech within the protection of California’s Anti-SLAPP Statute. (2018)

Baral v. Schnitt

Represented media coalition (Los Angeles Times Communications LLC, Reporters Committee For Freedom Of The Press, California Newspaper Publishers Association, Californians Aware, The First Amendment Coalition, The McClatchy Company, First Look Media, Inc., The Associated Press, News Corporation, Dow Jones & Co., Inc., The New York Times Company, Cable News Network, Inc., ABC, Inc. (including, inter alia, ABC News, KABC-TV, KGO-TV, and KFSN-TV), The Hearst Corporation, Bloomberg, L.P., and CBS Broadcasting, Inc.) in amicus brief submitted to the California Supreme Court. The court held that California’s Anti-SLAPP statute is available to strike individual claims grouped into a single cause of action. 1 Cal. 5th 376 (Cal. 2016)

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 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

Arave v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc.

We represented Merrill Lynch in this employment dispute involving alleged religious discrimination. The Court of Appeal rejected plaintiff’s claims and affirmed the jury verdict in Merrill Lynch’s favor. (Cal. App. 2018)

Brady v. Walt Disney Co.

We represented Walt Disney Pictures in this employment dispute involving alleged religious discrimination. The Court of Appeal affirmed the grant of summary judgment to Walt Disney on all claims. (Cal. App. 2018)

FX Networks v. de Havilland

We submitted an amicus brief on behalf of A&E Television Networks LLC; Discovery Communications LLC; Imperative Entertainment LLC; Urban One Inc.; Critical Content LLC; Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press; and First Amendment Coalition as amici in this matter. In a published decision, the California Court of Appeal rejected defamation and right of publicity claims by plaintiff, the renowned actress Dme. Olivia de Havilland, against the producers of the Emmy-winning docudrama “Feud: Bette and Joan” based on the depiction of plaintiff, and use of her persona, in that series. The court strongly reaffirmed the First Amendment protection for docudramas and similar works.  (Cal. App. 2018)

Leesa Jacobson v. DHS

Filed amicus brief on behalf of the National Press Photographers Association and the Center for Investigative Reporting arguing that the First Amendment guarantees the public and press access to monitor and report on border agent activities at checkpoint. In a published decision, the 9th Circuit reversed the trial court’s dismissal of the claims against the government, remanding for discovery regarding the government’s attempts to prevent access to and monitoring of border agent conduct. (2018)

Afont v. Alaska Airlines

Represented defendant on appeal to obtain affirmance of summary judgment in wrongful termination case involving claims of harassment, retaliation, and disability discrimination. (Cal. Ct. App. 2016)

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. 2015)

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.

Represented 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)

Additional Qualifications

  • Certified Specialist, Appellate Law, State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization

Professional & Community Activities

  • Past Chair, Appellate Section, Sacramento County Bar Association
  • Master, Member of Executive Committee; Co-chair, Membership Committee – Milton L. Schwartz-David F. Levi American Inn of Court
  • Women in Communications Law Committee, Forum on Communications Law, American Bar Association
  • Appellate Practice Committee, Section of Litigation, American Bar Association

Professional Recognition

  • Named as one of the "Best Lawyers in America" in First Amendment Law by Best Lawyers, 2018-present; named in Media Law, 2019-present
  • Selected to “Southern California Rising Stars,” Thomson Reuters, 2004-2007
  • Selected as member of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers, 2017
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