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A Better Partnership

Media, First Amendment and Defamation Litigation


Warner’s Media, First Amendment and Defamation Litigation group has you covered on any legal issue related to free expression, invasion of privacy, injury to reputation, and access to governmental records. Our clients have included news companies, journalists, broadcasters, filmmakers, software developers, public entities, and private citizens.
Warner brings to bear the wisdom of a team of over a dozen experienced professionals—the largest collection of media lawyers in the State—who meet regularly to stay on the forefront of the law. We bring to the practice of media law the same collaborative approach that is at the heart of our firm culture, involving the right attorneys with the right experience for each matter.
Members of our group are active in national media law organizations, including the Media Law Resource Center (MLRC) and the ABA Forum on Communications Law. Our experience extends deep and wide in all areas of media litigation, and has served clients across the country. Some of our attorneys’ representative matters include the following:
Defamation, Slander, Libel and False Light
  • Defended filmmaker Michael Moore from defamation and other claims brought over the film Bowling for Columbine
  • Defended local news broadcasters, print publications, and journalists against defamation claims asserted by the subjects of their reporting
  • Litigated and advised on defamation claims both for and against various private businesses and individuals
  • Prepublication review of content to minimize risk of liability
Free Speech / Prior Restraint / Vagueness / Viewpoint Discrimination
  • Obtained an injunction striking down, on First Amendment grounds, Milwaukee’s ordinance regulating the publication of location-based augmented reality games like Pokemon Go
  • Defended public university from lawsuit over its free speech code, and assisted university in improving the code
Common Law Invasion of Privacy / Eavesdropping
  • Represented musician Dr. Dre and others against eavesdropping and other claims brought by Detroit officials caught on concert-related tape, leading to a favorable 8-1 result from the Michigan Supreme Court
  • Defended business against eavesdropping claims based on recordings made by security officer
  • Defended journalists against eavesdropping and privacy claims based on undercover news reporting
Freedom of Information Act / Open Meetings Act
  • Represented numerous clients in lawsuits arising from governmental entities refusing to produce documents requested under FOIA
  • Particular experience with FOIA and OMA issues in the resource development industry
  • Open Meetings Act litigation
  • Advising various quasi-public and other entities on their responsibilities under open records laws
Access to Government
  • Precedent-setting litigation against the Department of Justice, establishing a First Amendment right of access to immigration court proceedings
  • Frequent petitions to trial and appellate courts across the State to open closed proceedings to public scrutiny
Religious Liberty
  • Represented clients, including as amici curiae in the United States Supreme Court and other courts in matters relating to conscientious objection, hiring rights, and free exercise issues
  • Advising and advocating for entities within ecclesiastical organizations with respect to their rights and responsibilities vis-a-vis other organizations within a religious hierarchy
Reporter’s Privilege
  • Defended journalist’s invocation of the First Amendment Reporter’s Privilege to safeguard the identity of confidential sources

Many media clients also encounter legal issues in related areas serviced by these and other Warner attorneys, including intellectual property (copyright, trademark, right of publicity), marketing and advertising rules, and more.


Order list by:
Photo of Kristina Araya
Kristina Araya
Photo of Michael Brady
Michael Brady
Photo of Ashley Chrysler
Ashley Chrysler
Photo of Conor Dugan
Conor Dugan
Photo of Pamela Enslen
Pamela Enslen
Photo of Daniel Ettinger
Daniel Ettinger
Photo of Madelaine Lane
Madelaine Lane
Photo of Matthew Nelson
Matthew Nelson
Photo of Katherine Pullen
Katherine Pullen
Photo of Brian Wassom
Brian Wassom

Case Studies



Sep 2020
September 29, 2020

Webinar: Business and Personal Defamation: Steps to Take if You or Your Business Fall Prey to this Rising Trend


Warner partners Katherine Pullen and Brian Wassom presented a webinar titled “Business and Personal Defamation: Steps to Take if You or Your Business Fall Prey to this Rising Trend.” De...

May 2020
May 12, 2020

Webinar: Gaining Access to Government Data During COVID-19 with FOIA and OMA


Warner attorneys, Kristina Araya, Daniel Ettinger and Brian Wassom presented a webinar focused on two key legal tools for gaining access to government data: the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) an...

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