Michael J. Niborski concentrates his practice in media, entertainment, and intellectual property litigation and is a partner in the firm's Los Angeles office. Michael represents a variety of clients in the entertainment, broadcasting, and publishing industries in a wide array of defamation, privacy, right of publicity, trademark and copyright litigation. He also regularly counsels clients in these areas with regard to the content of entertainment programming and news publications.
While a clerk to the California Court of Appeals, Michael co-authored the court’s opinion in Khawar v. Globe International, Inc., a landmark California case in the area of defamation law. The case was featured on several news programs, including 60 Minutes, and the decision was later affirmed by the California Supreme Court. As a result of its profound impact on media law, Michael developed an early expertise in the area of California’s Anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) statute, litigating all areas of the law on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants, including helping to define the law’s application in federal court actions in the case of Mimi Rogers v. Home Shopping Network.
Among his many defamation cases, Michael has represented public figures including Aretha Franklin, Martha Stewart and Las Vegas casino owner Steve Wynn, as well as media and entertainment companies such as Anschutz Entertainment Group. In addition, Michael helped win a complete defense verdict in a defamation action in Japan on behalf of Soka Gakkai International, a global association of lay practitioners of Buddhism. With the rise of social media, Michael has been at the forefront of issues involving the law of defamation and new media, defending public figures in the first wave of Twitter defamation litigation.
Michael has done extensive litigation and counseling in the fields of trademark, trade secret and copyright law. He successfully obtained dismissal of an action on behalf of a production company that had been sued for idea submission theft arising out of a documentary series featuring profiles of Congressional Medal of Honor winners. He recently defended entertainment companies Fox Broadcasting, 19 Entertainment and Dick Clark Productions in a five-year long misappropriation lawsuit involving the hit show So You Think You Can Dance. Michael also served as co-counsel on behalf of Mattel in the first highly-publicized trade secret trial with MGA Entertainment over the origin of the Bratz dolls.
Michael also represents several recording artists in various intellectual property and business matters, including Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri, Rihanna, Pharrell Williams, Drake, T-Pain and Kanye West. He also represents EMI and Sony ATV in a wide array of litigation arising out of their music publishing catalogues.
As a complement to his practice in the areas of privacy and publicity rights, Michael has developed a nationwide expertise in issues relating to surreptitious video and audio recordings, not only defending clients involved in litigation arising out of all varieties of audio and video recordings, but also preemptively counseling clients on the legal ramifications and parameters of all aspects of newsgathering and well as entertainment programming.
Michael also has a uniquely wide breadth of trial experience, having first and second-chaired numerous jury and bench trials in California courts as early as his first year in practice, with his signature victory coming in obtaining a complete defense verdict as lead trial counsel in a multi-million dollar lawsuit on behalf of Citibank. He also successfully defended the producers of the American re-make of the Japanese motion picture The Ring in a lawsuit brought by a production company alleging rights to the film.
Michael also serves on the law school faculty at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, teaching a variety of courses as part of the entertainment and media law advocacy curriculum. In addition, Michael was recently invited to join the Board of Directors of The Los Angeles Leadership Academy, a charter school in the Lincoln Heights district of downtown Los Angeles supported by leading figures in the entertainment, legal, finance and education industries.