Douglas E. Mirell

DOUGLAS E.
MIRELL

Douglas Mirell practices general corporate and business litigation, concentrating on First Amendment and entertainment industry lawsuits; invasion of privacy and defamation claims; publicity rights disputes; anti-SLAPP motions; copyright and trademark infringement actions; new and traditional media law issues; enforcement of civil rights statutes; voting rights litigation; freedom of information, public records and other government access statutes; and a variety of constitutional law questions.

His representative litigation clients have included the Japan Broadcasting Corporation, the Association of American Publishers, Omnicom Group Inc., Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, The Franklin Mint, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., William Morris Agency, LLC, Marilyn Monroe, LLC, Halle Berry, Bradley Cooper and SAG-AFTRA.

Mr. Mirell has been instrumental in providing the legal analysis that helped win passage of two important pieces of California legislation affecting the rights of celebrities in the entertainment community: Senate Bill 771 (2007), authored by former State Senator Sheila Kuehl, which clarified that the statutory post-mortem right of publicity applies to those celebrities who predeceased that law’s original effective date of January 1, 1985; and Senate Bill 606 (2013), authored by State Senator Kevin de León, which significantly enhances the criminal penalties and creates a new civil remedy for the harassment of celebrity children under the age of 16 caused by the conduct of aggressive paparazzi.

Mr. Mirell regularly reviews video/film footage, Internet websites, motion picture/television scripts, stage plays, newspapers, magazines and books to avoid infringing intellectual property rights and potential publication tort claims. He also previously authored amicus curiae briefs in various appellate courts for the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (“MPAA”) and represented all of the MPAA’s member companies in nationwide litigation against computer users who were illegally trafficking in those studios’ copyrighted motion pictures on “peer-to-peer” file sharing networks.

Mr. Mirell is a frequent speaker and has written numerous Op-Ed articles for the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily Journal and Jewish Journal. He has been interviewed for his perspective on various intellectual property and First Amendment-related issues by major newspapers and magazines, as well as by local, national and international radio and television outlets.

He also authored over 25 expert commentaries on the criminal and civil trials of O.J. Simpson for WESTLAW’s specialized “Notable Trials” computer database. During the Simpson criminal trial, Mr. Mirell made eight appearances before Judge Lance A. Ito to argue against sealing coroner’s records, autopsy photographs, juror dismissal transcripts and other court documents; imposing a “gag order” upon trial participants; conducting a mid-trial inquest into the undisclosed sources of a controversial local TV news report; closing juror voir dire proceedings; and terminating courtroom television/radio coverage.

Before co-founding Harder Mirell & Abrams LLP in January 2013, Mr. Mirell was an attorney with the international law firm of Loeb & Loeb LLP for 32 years, and a partner in the litigation department of its Los Angeles office since 1987. While at Loeb & Loeb, he conducted seminars on entertainment industry and First Amendment issues for all of the major motion picture studios and television networks, as well as newsroom seminars on various media law issues for publishers, reporters and editors.

Mr. Mirell is married to Loyola Law School Professor Laurie L. Levenson; they have three children.

AREAS OF PRACTICE

ENTERTAINMENT AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LITIGATION
  • Right of Publicity
  • Privacy Rights, including TROs and Injunctions
  • Trademark
  • Copyright
  • Advertising and Promotions
  • Defamation
  • First Amendment
  • Anti-SLAPP
  • Profit Participation, Royalty and Audit Matters
  • Internet Domain Name Disputes and Cybersquatting
GENERAL BUSINESS LITIGATION
  • Breach of Contract
  • Business Torts including Fraud, Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Constructive Fraud, Tortious Interference with Business Relations, Conversion, Unjust Enrichment and Professional Negligence
  • Unfair Competition and Unfair Business Practices
  • Trade Secrets
  • TRO, Injunction and Impoundment Proceedings
  • Freedom of Information Acts and Ordinances, Privacy Act and Public Records Act
  • 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 and Unruh Civil Rights Act
  • Brown Act and Bagley-Keene Act
  • Voting Rights
  • Electronic Discovery

REPRESENTATIVE EXPERIENCE

  • Counsel for Terry Bollea (professionally known as Hulk Hogan) in pre-trial depositions that helped secure a $140.1 million jury verdict in an invasion of privacy lawsuit against Gawker Media, its founder/CEO Nick Denton, and former Gawker.com Editor-in-Chief A.J. Daulerio
  • Lead counsel for Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., the Presiding Bishop of the Church Of God In Christ, in a federal court defamation lawsuit that resulted in the entry of a permanent injunction, the removal of dozens of wholly false and highly inflammatory YouTube videos, the incarceration of the defendant responsible for creating and posting those videos upon a finding of civil contempt of court, and a referral of that defendant to the United States Attorney’s Office for a potential criminal contempt prosecution.
  • Counsel in a two-year trial of the then-largest shareholder/dissenter’s rights case in American legal history involving a privately-held real estate corporation
  • Successfully defended The Franklin Mint in a publicity rights, false advertising and false endorsement case brought by the memorial fund and estate of the late Princess Diana
  • Successfully defended a book author/publisher and a television producer/network against a lawsuit filed by Elizabeth Taylor which sought to prevent the publication of an unauthorized biography and the airing of an unauthorized television mini-series on her life
  • Successfully defended the author of a book about the Scott Peterson murder trial against an attempt by Peterson and his lawyers to censor its contents
  • Successfully represented various criminal defense attorneys and their clients in challenging court-imposed gag orders
  • Co-counsel in the successful constitutional challenge to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors’ 1981 redistricting plan on the grounds that it intentionally discriminated against the county’s then-3 million Latino residents, resulting in the election of a Latina – the first woman ever elected to the Board and the first Hispanic to serve on that powerful body in 115 years
  • Co-counsel for immigrant plaintiffs in the federal court lawsuit that successfully halted implementation of California’s Proposition 187

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS/SPEECHES

  • Author, Preserving the Barrier Between Church and State, The Jewish Journal (February 9, 2017)
  • Author, 33-Month Decision Gives Few Answers, Los Angeles Daily Journal (February 22, 2016)
  • Author, The F.B.I. Versus Apple: The Privacy Threat Is Overblown, Jewish Journal (February 22, 2016)
  • Author, Drone on in California, At Least For Now, Los Angeles Daily Journal (October 7, 2015)
  • Panelist, Recent Developments in Right of Publicity, Summer in the City: Entertainment & Digital Media Hot Topics Symposium, Loyola Entertainment & Media Law Institute, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, California (July 31, 2015)
  • Panelist, Blurred Lines: Inspiration or Infringement?, Beverly Hills Bar Association’s Southern California Business Litigation Inn of Court & Entertainment Section, Los Angeles, California (June 4, 2015)
  • Panelist, Digital Media and Entertainment Law, Loyola Law School’s Tenth Annual Journalist Law School, Los Angeles, California (May 29, 2015)
  • Panelist, Constitutional Law in Practice, American Constitution Society – Loyola Law School Chapter, Los Angeles, California (February 24, 2015)
  • Panelist, Rights of Publicity: Has Elvis Left the Building, The State Bar of California’s 39th Annual Intellectual Property Institute, Garden Grove, California (November 6, 2014)
  • Co-Author, Privacy Interests Prevail in Sacramento, Los Angeles Daily Journal (October 3, 2014)
  • Panelist, Voting Rights Post-Shelby: What Should Congress Do Now?, L.A. Law Library’s “Celebrate the Rule of Law” Program (May 2, 2014)
  • Co-Author, Chapter 10: California’s Anti-SLAPP Law, Entertainment Law and Litigation (2d Ed. 2014)
  • Author, Post-Mortem Publicity Rights Phoenix Rising, Los Angeles Daily Journal (February 3, 2014)
  • Panelist, Soaring Above Pellicano: Your Guide to Private Investigators and the Ethics of Hiring Them, Beverly Hills Bar Association Barristers Workshop, Beverly Hills, California (October 30, 2013)
  • Panelist, No One’s Dead Forever: Technology and the Evolving Right of Publicity, 26th Annual Media & the Law Seminar, University of Kansas School of Law, Kansas City, Missouri (April 19, 2013)
  • Author, Right-of-Publicity Statutes: Some Historical Reflections and Recent Developments, Communications Lawyer (September 2010)
  • Author, Proposed Amendment to California’s Right of Publicity Statute Would Harm Media, MLRC MediaLawLetter (March 2010)
  • Speaker, Judicial Perspectives on Religious Pluralism, Loyola Law School/UCLA Hillel Lunch & Learn MCLE Series (December 14, 2009)
  • Author, Compounding the Felony: California’s Amended Anti-Paparazzi Statute Media Law Resource Center, Media Law Letter, pp. 24-26 (October 2009)
  • Panelist, Rights of Publicity: Valuable Assets Worth Developing, Motion Picture and Television Fund Professional Advisory Network, Los Angeles, California (February 18, 2009)
  • Author, California Clarifies Its Posthumous Right of Publicity Statute, Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice, pp. 224-225 (March 2008)
  • Speaker, The High Cost of Cheap Shots? A Panel Discussion on the Ethics of Tabloid Journalism, Beverly Hills, California (January 29, 2008)
  • Speaker, Society of Professional Journalists 2006 Region 11 Conference, Pasadena, California (March 31 – April 1, 2006)
  • Speaker, Worming Around the First Amendment: An Overview of Recent Developments in Publicity Rights Litigation, Los Angeles Copyright Society (October 1, 2003)
  • Author, The Publicity Rights Worm Turns, Media Law Resource Center MediaLawLetter, pp. 35-37 (June 2003)
  • Author, Idea Theft in the Advertising and Promotions Industry, PMA Law Conference Compendium (November 2002)
  • Author, Speech Expansion, California Law Business (November 1999)
  • Author, The Fine Line Between Editorial Content and Advertising, Corporate Counsel (April 2009)
  • Author, Gag Orders and Attorney Discipline Rules: Why Not Base the Former Upon the Latter, Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Journal (Vol. 17, No. 2, 1997)
  • Author, The Trial of the Century: Some Implications for the Next Millennium, Entertainment, Publishing and the Arts Handbook (1995-1996 Edition)
  • Author, The Latest Threat to Free Speech: California’s Proposed Bar Rules, Communications Lawyer (Summer 1995)
  • Author, Can O.J. Simpson Profit From the Sale of His Book?, Entertainment Law Reporter (Jan 1995)
  • Co-Author, Delinquency Hearings and the First Amendment: Reassessing Juvenile Court Confidentiality Upon the Demise of ‘Conditional Access,’ 13 U.C. Davis Law Review 123-173 (1979), reprinted in Juvenile & Family Court Journal, Vol. 31, No. 4, pp. 17-42 (November 1980)

SELECTED MEDIA MENTIONS

AFFILIATIONS

  • Board Member, ACLU Foundation of Southern California (President, 2007-2012)
  • Board Member, American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California
  • Founding Board Member, Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice
  • Co-Founder and Former Board Member, Progressive Jewish Alliance (President, 2008-2009)
  • Founding Member, African-American/Jewish Leadership Connection
  • Founding Member, Muslim/Jewish Dialogue Group
  • Advisory Board Member, Defending Dissent Foundation
  • Media Lawyer Member, Los Angeles Superior Court Media Committee
  • Member, Los Angeles Copyright Society (Trustee, 2009-2013)
  • Member, Association of Business Trial Lawyers
  • Member, Chancery Club
  • Member, American Constitution Society for Law and Policy
  • Member, California Public Defenders Association
  • Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Member, Beverly Hills Bar Association
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Pro Bono Attorney, ACLU Foundation of Southern California
  • Pro Bono Attorney, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
  • Pro Bono Attorney, Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California
  • Pro Bono Attorney, Society of Professional Journalists
  • Pro Bono Attorney, Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles
  • Pro Bono Attorney, Bet Tzedek Legal Services
  • Pro Bono Attorney, Public Counsel
  • Former Commissioner, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, an independent city-county agency formed to address the problems of homelessness on a regional basis (Chair, July 2008-June 2009; Vice-Chair, July 2007-June 2008)
  • Former Chair, Entertainment Law Committee, Media Law Resource Center (2010-2012)
  • Former Board Member, Central American Resource Center (CARECEN)
  • Former Board Member, LA Youth (bi-monthly newspaper by and about teens)
  • Former Board Member, Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles (Federation)
  • Former Regional President and Board Member, American Jewish Congress (AJCongress)
  • Former Chair, Urban Affairs Commission, Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Committee
  • Former Chair, Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California (statewide legislative advocacy arm of California’s organized Jewish communities)
  • Former Member, Legal Review Committee, California First Amendment Coalition

DISTINCTIONS

  • Highest “AV Preeminent (5.0 out of 5.0)” Professional Rating, Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory
  • Named “Best Lawyer” in First Amendment Law, The Best Lawyers In America, published by Woodward/White, Inc. (2010-2017) & Best Lawyers’ Southern California “Lawyer of the Year” in Litigation – First Amendment (2017)
  • Named in “Southern California Super Lawyers” in Intellectual Property Litigation, Entertainment & Sports and First Amendment/Media/Advertising, a Thomson Reuters business (2004-2018)
  • Highest “SUPERB (10.0 out of 10.0)” Professional Rating, Avvo Inc.
  • Front-page profile, Los Angeles Daily Journal (Dec. 9, 1996)
  • “35 Young Lawyers to Keep an Eye On,” California Law Business (July 24, 1995)
  • Adjunct Professor of Law, Legal Journalism, Loyola Law School (Spring 1999)
  • Adjunct Professor of Law, Constitutional Law II (First Amendment), University of Southern California Law School (Spring 1996)
  • Menorah Award, Sinai Akiba Academy (2014)
  • Community Witness Award, Second African Methodist Episcopal Church (2010)
  • Advocate Award, Garment Worker Center (2006)
  • Isaiah Award, Progressive Jewish Alliance (2006)
  • First Annual Professional and Community Service Award, Loeb & Loeb (2003)
  • Pro Bono Advocate of the Year, ACLU Foundation of Southern California (2003)
  • Jewish Life Award, Hillel Council at UCLA (1999)
  • Freedom of Information Award, Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (1997)
  • Tikkun Olam Award, Loyola Law School (1996)
  • Community Service Award, CARECEN (1995)
  • Pro Bono Civil Liberties Award, ACLU Foundation of Southern California (1995)
  • David J. Cohen Memorial Community Service Award, AJCongress Pacific Southwest Region (1992)
  • Legal Services Award, MALDEF (1990)
  • Pro Bono Service Award, ACLU (1990)

ADMISSIONS

  • California (1980)
  • United States Supreme Court
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals

EDUCATION

  • Juris Doctor (1980), University of California at Davis School of Law
  • B.A., cum laude (1977), Claremont Men’s College, Claremont, California