Internet and Free Speech Litigation
Advertising and Commercial Speech
Right of Privacy
Access to Government Records and Proceedings
Intellectual Property Litigation
Cannabis Business Regulatory Counseling
Cannabis Licensing Litigation
Cannabis Related Intellectual Property
Corporate Client Counseling
Supervision of Outside Counsel
Civil Appeals and Trial Court Motion Practice
Federal and California Courts
Briefing and Argument
OUR WORK AND EXPERTISE
Timothy L. Alger focuses his law practice on intellectual property, business, entertainment and free speech litigation. With the legalization of recreational cannabis in California, Mr. Alger now also provides regulatory advice to cannabis businesses, represents cannabis businesses in administrative disputes and litigation with government agencies relating to licensing, and assists clients with the protection of cannabis-related trade secrets and trademarks. Cannabis businesses are likely to face increasing scrutiny from state regulatory agencies and local government, resulting in enforcement proceedings that could result in the suspension or loss of licenses and business closure.
Mr. Alger has represented entrepreneurs and many prominent internet, financial and media companies in the trial and appellate courts against claims for breach of contract, fraud, invasion of privacy, right of publicity, trademark and copyright infringement, defamation, and unfair business practices. His work has ranged from complex, multi-defendant class actions to disputes over subpoenas and public access to government proceedings and records.
Mr. Alger is based in Southern California but has a national litigation practice. He also serves as Of Counsel to Emerge Law Group, a leading firm focusing on cannabis businesses.
Mr. Alger has successfully defended companies in recent disputes over corporate acquisitions, business relationships, and financial issues. Prior to opening his own practice, Mr. Alger was a partner in major international law firms. From 2008 to 2011, Mr. Alger served as Deputy General Counsel at Google, where he supervised the Litigation, Employment and Trademark groups. His teams managed all of the company's patent, copyright, trademark, privacy, employment, and commercial litigation matters before United States courts and arbitration bodies, and many international disputes. During his tenure, Google won summary judgment in the Viacom/YouTube copyright litigation, won summary judgment in the Rosetta Stone trademark keyword litigation, and obtained complete victories in two patent jury trials in the Eastern District of Texas. Mr. Alger and Google also took leading roles during this time in controversies over news aggregation, online piracy, privacy rights, software patents, and open source licensing.
Mr. Alger has represented internet companies in high-profile free speech cases such as Garcia v. Google, in which the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected, en banc, an effort under the Copyright Act to force Google and YouTube to remove the controversial “Innocence of Muslims” video trailer. Mr. Alger also represented the defendants in the watershed Ninth Circuit cases interpreting Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act, Fair Housing Council v. Roommates.com and Carafano v. Metrosplash.com. In two appeals, the Ninth Circuit in Roommates set a high bar for plaintiffs who seek to hold online intermediaries liable for user postings, and established as a matter of first impression that the First Amendment protects speech relating to cohabitation. In Carafano, the Ninth Circuit held that Section 230 immunizes online services that facilitate and format allegedly unlawful user postings.
Mr. Alger’s recent work also included representation of a billboard company that successfully challenged the City of Los Angeles’ inconsistent regulation of outdoor signs, resulting in an important state Court of Appeal decision extinguishing 100 digital displays erected by competitors and prohibiting municipalities from entering into agreements that conflict with land use laws, Summit Media v. City of Los Angeles. Other recent victories include the dismissal of a federal lawsuit challenging a social network’s decision to remove material violating the network’s policies, Sikhs for Justice v. Facebook, and the state Court of Appeal’s holding that electronic communications cannot be disclosed by a service provider without the user’s express consent, Negro v. Superior Court. Mr. Alger’s recent business litigation work included post-trial and appellate representation of an international office supply company, in which Mr. Alger obtained the reversal for his client of a $32 million jury verdict for fraud and breach of an advertising contract.
Mr. Alger is a frequent speaker on cannabis intellectual property issues, commercial speech, online intermediary liability, publicity and privacy rights, and defamation. His pro bono work has included representation of a state prisoner beaten by guards, a blind college student excluded from classes because of her disability, two major university student newspapers, and public school students and parents pursuing special education services.
Before attending law school, Mr. Alger was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the First Amendment Coalition, and a former member of the Board of Directors of the Disability Rights Legal Center.
Mr. Alger is a member of the State Bar of California, the bars for the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. District Courts for the Central, Northern, Southern and Eastern Districts of California, the Los Angeles County Bar Association and the Orange County Bar Association.
Mr. Alger and Alger Law APC are members of:
First Amendment Coalition (member of the Board of Directors)
Media Law Resource Center
California Cannabis Industry Association
National Cannabis Industry Association
International Cannabis Bar Association
Los Angeles County Bar Association Cannabis Law Section
J.D., magna cum laude, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles
M.A., Journalism, University of Colorado
B.A., magna cum laude, Seton Hall University
Garcia v. Google Inc. and YouTube LLC, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals; U.S. District Court for the Central District of California: Defeated motion by actress in anti-Muslim film for injunction requiring removal of “Innocence of Muslims” movie trailer from YouTube and other Google platforms, which was affirmed, en banc, by the Ninth Circuit. The en banc court vacated an earlier decision by a Ninth Circuit panel reversing the district court’s denial of the motion, which resulted in removal of of the trailer for more than a year. Action dismissed by plaintiff after remand. 786 F.3d 733 (9th Cir. 2015) (en banc).
Concept Chaser Co., Inc. v. Pentel of America, Ltd., California Court of Appeal; Los Angeles Superior Court: Obtained the reversal of a $14.6 million jury verdict against Pentel of America, Ltd. While represented by other counsel, Pentel lost a jury trial in Los Angeles County Superior Court in which the plaintiff, an advertising agency, alleged breach of contract and fraud and was awarded over $32 million. After being retained in the case, Mr. Alger prevailed in post-trial motions eliminating $18 million in fraud damages and, in the Court of Appeal, won reversal of the remainder of the judgment, reversal of a $1.5 million attorney fee award, and a new trial. Case subsequently settled on favorable terms. No. B241929 (Cal. Ct. App. May 27, 2014).
RIPL Corp. v. Google Inc., U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington: Obtained summary judgment for Google in a reverse confusion trademark lawsuit asserting that the “Ripples” reporting feature, showing public re-postings in the Google+ service, infringed the registered mark of a developer of social network software. Motion granted on both abandonment and likelihood of confusion grounds.
Sanmedica International v. Amazon.com, U.S. District Court for the District of Utah: Obtained summary judgment for Amazon limiting damages on claims under the Lanham Act and state deceptive advertising law, relating to search page advertising for plaintiff’s product, which had been banned from the Amazon marketplace. Settled on terms favorable to client.
In re Facebook: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California: Obtained ruling quashing subpoena for communications relating to account of deceased user. The court held that Facebook could not be compelled as a nonparty to civil litigation to produce communications content under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“ECPA”). 923 F. Supp. 2d 1204 (N.D. Cal. 2013).
Negro v. Superior Court, California Court of Appeal, Sixth District; Santa Clara County Superior Court: Represented Google in challenging court order requiring disclosure of user email account in civil litigation, where the user refused to consent, on the rationale that the user’s noncooperation with discovery could be viewed as implied consent. Court of Appeal vacated the order under ECPA and ordered disclosure only pursuant to express consent by the user. 230 Cal. App. 4th 879, 179 Cal. Rptr. 3d 215 (Cal. Ct. App. 2014).
Jancik v. Redbox Automated Retail, LLC, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California: Defended Redbox against disability discrimination and false representation claims relating to captions for the hearing impaired on movie DVDs distributed at retail store kiosks. Motion to dismiss granted on all claims asserting that Redbox may include in its rental inventory only closed-captioned films.
Summit Media LLC v. City Of Los Angeles, California Court of Appeal, Second District; Los Angeles Superior Court: Obtained writ of mandate invalidating an illegal agreement between the City of Los Angeles and CBS Outdoor Inc. and Clear Channel Outdoor, Inc. allowing the conversion of billboards into digital displays despite a citywide ban on new and altered off-site advertising signs. After an appeal by CBS and Clear Channel, the state Court of Appeal affirmed the writ and ordered revocation of all digital conversion permits – resulting in court orders turning off 100 digital billboards throughout Los Angeles. 211 Cal. App. 4th 921, 150 Cal. Rptr. 3d 574 (Cal. Ct. App. 2012).
Carafano v. Metrosplash.com, Inc., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; U.S. District Court for the Central District of California: Successfully defended Lycos, Inc. and its subsidiaries in trial court and in an appeal in which the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment to defendants in a widely cited decision, explaining and expanding the absolute immunity for interactive Internet websites for user postings under the Communications Decency Act, 42 U.S.C. § 230 (“CDA”). 339 F.3d 1119 (9th Cir. 2003).
Fair Housing Council v. Roommates.com LLC, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; U.S. District Court for the Central District of California: Represented Roommates.com, an online roommate-matching service, throughout eight years of litigation and two appeals, ultimately obtaining a precedent-setting decision by the Ninth Circuit that the First Amendment barred any claim against the service under federal and state fair housing laws. The case also resulted in a landmark en banc ruling by the Ninth Circuit addressing the limits of the CDA. 666 F.3d 1216 (9th Cir. 2012); 521 F.3d. 1157 (9th Cir. 2008) (en banc).
Soka University of America v. Shogakukan, Inc., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; U.S. District Court for the Central District of California: Won anti-SLAPP motion dismissing defamation lawsuit asserting that Japanese magazine falsely reported plaintiff university lacked government approval. In a case complicated by disputes over editorial choice of Japanese words to describe the uniquely American college accreditation process, the district court found that magazine publisher and its reporter lacked constitutional actual malice. The court also ordered plaintiff to pay defendants nearly $500,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs, a record anti-SLAPP award. Affirmed by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. 279 Fed. Appx. 553 (9th Cir. 2008).
Taylor v. Teledyne Technologies, Inc., U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia: Represented Teledyne in contempt proceedings against aviation plaintiff’s attorney who was accused of violating a court order sealing a discovery order. Following a trial, the court found that the attorney had violated its sealing order and lifted the seal so Teledyne could use the confidential order in its defense in a separate defamation lawsuit. 338 F. Supp. 2d 1323 (N.D. Ga. 2004).
Maughan v. Google Technology, Inc., California Court of Appeal, Second District; Los Angeles Superior Court: Won anti-SLAPP motion dismissing defamation lawsuit by accountant who alleged that search results conveyed the false message that he had been disciplined by state regulators for tax fraud. Successfully argued, in a case of first impression, that search engine excerpts are protected by the CDA, and are not defamatory as a matter of law. Affirmed by state Court of Appeal.
Dukarich v. Houghton Mifflin Company, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California: Obtained complete defense jury verdict for book publisher in breach of contract lawsuit brought by author who asserted publisher did not sufficiently promote her college textbook, and breached an obligation to take two additional volumes in her series.
Positive Response Television v. Forbes, Inc., U.S. District Court for the Central District of California: Successfully defended Forbes magazine, its editors and a reporter against claims by infomercial company for securities law violations, defamation, interference with business relations and racketeering. The plaintiff company alleged the magazine intentionally manipulated the stock market by publishing an article questioning the company’s prospects. Won two motions to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), and a motion for sanctions under Rule 11.
Eliot v. Houghton Mifflin Company, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California: Obtained summary judgment for publisher and author who, in a scholarly biography of Walt Disney, challenged the accuracy of an earlier biography written by plaintiff. The case presented novel First Amendment questions regarding possible liability for factual characterizations within commentary in a bibliography.
Shames v. Pearson Inc. and related matters, Supreme Court of New York; San Diego and San Francisco Superior Court: Negotiated favorable nationwide settlement of five class actions alleging unfair business practices and false advertising relating to a major publisher’s attribution to a bestselling author of a novel that was ghostwritten after the author’s death.
Los Angeles Times v. Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority, California Court of Appeal, Second District; Los Angeles Superior Court: Obtained a watershed ruling in the California Court of Appeal that a person seeking government documents “prevails,” and is entitled to recover all attorney fees from the government, when the court orders the disclosure of some, but not all, the requested documents. 88 Cal. App. 4th 1381, 107 Cal. Rptr. 2d 29 (Cal. Ct. App. 2001).
Citizens Commission on Human Rights v. Food & Drug Administration, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; U.S. District Court for the Central District of California: Obtained summary judgment, and affirmance by the Ninth Circuit, for a major pharmaceutical company seeking to preclude a religious advocacy organization from obtaining proprietary clinical trials data from the FDA under the Freedom of Information Act. 45 F.3d 1325 (9th Cir. 1995).