Appeals, Writs & Amicus Briefs

We have briefed or argued more than 100 cases from the California Courts of Appeal to the United States Supreme Court.  We represent clients appeals, writ petitions and amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs.

Just a few examples of our experience include:

United States Supreme Court

  • Tory v. Cochran, 544 U.S. 734 (2005). As counsel for Petitioner Ulysses Tory, we succeeded in striking down an overly broad prior restraint on speech concerning noted attorney Johnnie Cochran.

  • Masson v. New Yorker Magazine, 501 U.S. 496 (1991). Represented journalist Janet Malcolm in landmark case setting the bounds of the substantial truth defense in defamation cases.

  • Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472 (1995). Represented inmate in due process challenge to prison disciplinary proceeding.

  • Citizens United v. FEC, 558 U.S. 50 (2010). Filed amicus curiae brief on behalf of the California First Amendment Coalition, arguing that federal restrictions on the political speech of independent non-profits should be lifted.

  • United States v. Alvarez, 132 S. Ct. 2537 (2012).  Filed amicus brief for the proposition that Stolen Valor Act constituted a content-based restriction on free speech, in violation of the First Amendment.  The Supreme Court agreed.  For Alvarez, a local politician in California, lying was his habit. He lied when he said that he played hockey for the Detroit Red Wings and that he once married a starlet from Mexico. But when he lied in announcing he held the Congressional Medal of Honor, respondent ventured onto new ground; for that lie violates a federal criminal statute, the Stolen Valor Act of 2005. (paraphrasing Justice Kennedy).

Ninth United States Circuit Court of Appeals

  • Kaelin v. Globe Communications Corp., 162 F.3d 1036 (9th Cir. 1998). Landmark case holding that newspaper headlines may be defamatory, arising out of a claim by a witness in the OJ Simpson murder case.

  • United States v. Lin, Ninth Circuit Case No. 06-10591. Filed amici curiae brief on behalf of press entities in support of the producer of "America's Most Wanted," resisting a subpoena to disclose outtakes. The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court order requiring disclosure.

  • Thomas v. Los Angeles Times Communications LLC, Ninth Circuit Case No. 02-55343 (Sept. 6, 2002). The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a defamation suit under California's anti-SLAPP statute (see 189 F.Supp.2d 1005 (C.D. Cal. 2002)).

  • Hepting v. AT&T, Ninth Circuit Case Nos. 06-17132 and 06-17137.  Filed amici curiae brief arguing that the state secrets privilege does not bar suit against phone companies for participation in government's warrantless surveillance program.

First United States Circuit Court of Appeals

  • In re San Juan Dupont Plaza Hotel Fire Litig., 989 F.2d 36 (1st Cir. 1993).  Argued on behalf of Insureds, which owned and operated hotel that was the subject of the largest mass-disaster litigation to date, who  sought to recover from comprehensive general liability and excess liability insurers the amounts they contributed to settlement of hotel fire victim's personal injury and wrongful death claims.

California Supreme Court

  • Balboa Island Village Inn v. Lemen, 40 Cal. 4th 1141 (2007).  Decision striking down overly broad injunction on speech.

  • Gates v. Discovery Communications, Inc., 34 Cal. 4th 679 (2004).  Counsel for amici curiae media companies urging California Supreme Court to reject liability for publication of information about an individual's past felony, which the Court did.

  • Flanagan v. Flanagan, 27 Cal. 4th 766 (2002).  Counsel for amici curiae media companies in landmark decision interpreting the scope of California's eavesdropping and wiretapping statute, Penal Code S 632.

California Courts of Appeal

  • Lieberman v. KCOP Television, Inc., 110 Cal. App. 4th 156 (2003). Represented television station in first case to apply California's anti-SLAPP statute to claims for newsgathering.

  • Johnson v. Superior Court, 80 Cal. App. 4th 1050 (2000). Landmark privacy case setting the bounds of anonymity for sperm donors.

  • Sipple v. Foundation for Nat'l Progress, 71 Cal. App. 4th 226 (1999). Landmark case interpreting the parameters of California's anti-SLAPP statute.


Print, Broadcast & Electronic Media
New Media & Internet Companies
News Gathering Organizations
Journalists & Writers
Entertainment Companies
Motion Picture Studios
Production Companies
Book Publishers