Bruce D. Brown

Of Counsel

Washington, D.C.
T 202.861.1660  |  F 202.861.1783

A former reporter, Bruce Brown focuses his practice in the areas of libel and invasion of privacy defense, copyright, and newsgathering. Having spent 15 years with the firm practicing in the media area, Bruce is now of counsel while he serves as executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, where he works with journalists and media organizations to protect and preserve their rights under the First Amendment.

Bruce is a lecturer at the University of Virginia Law School where he co-directs the First Amendment clinic and is an adjunct faculty member in Georgetown University's master's program in Professional Studies in Journalism. He serves on the First Amendment Advisors Board of the Media Institute. He has been co-chair of the Legislative Affairs Committee of the Media Law Resource Center in New York.

Select Experience

  • Prepares amicus briefs and industry letters on behalf of Reporters Committee for journalists and media companies in various free press matters.
  • Worked on reforms to Department of Justice media subpoena policies representing a coalition of over 50 news organizations through the Reporters Committee.
  • Defends journalist in lawsuit brought by former USDA official testing the District of Columbia’s Anti-SLAPP statute in Sherrod v. Breitbart, No. Civ. A. 11-00477 (RJL), (D.D.C. Feb. 11, 2011). 
  • Obtained access to completed juror questionnaires in the Chandra Levy murder trial. In re: Access to Jury Questionnaire, The Washington Post, No. 10-SP-1610 (D.C. Jan. 19, 2012).
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Experience

  • Prepares amicus briefs and industry letters on behalf of Reporters Committee for journalists and media companies in various free press matters.
  • Worked on reforms to Department of Justice media subpoena policies representing a coalition of over 50 news organizations through the Reporters Committee.
  • Defends journalist in lawsuit brought by former USDA official testing the District of Columbia’s Anti-SLAPP statute in Sherrod v. Breitbart, No. Civ. A. 11-00477 (RJL), (D.D.C. Feb. 11, 2011). 
  • Obtained access to completed juror questionnaires in the Chandra Levy murder trial. In re: Access to Jury Questionnaire, The Washington Post, No. 10-SP-1610 (D.C. Jan. 19, 2012). 
  • Defended reporter in libel case in which the reporter was voluntarily dismissed with no payment to the plaintiff and no retraction or apology required from the reporter. 
  • Represented The National Law Journal in prior restraint action brought by beverage manufacturer POM Wonderful in Pom Wonderful LLC v. ALM Media Properties LLC, Civil No. 2010 CA 005533 B (D.C. Superior Court, 2010). 
  • Argued on behalf of a Baltimore-based newsletter publisher in the first Section 10(b) enforcement action brought by the SEC against a publisher of financial news and commentary to be decided by a federal appeals court. SEC v. Pirate Investor, 580 F.3d 233 (4th Cir. 2009). 
  • Represented a suburban Chicago newspaper in an appeal of a libel judgment won by the sitting Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court and in federal civil rights litigation brought by the newspaper alleging violation of its First Amendment and due process rights from the recusal of the Illinois Supreme Court from the case. Robert R. Thomas v. Bill Page, et al., No. 2-07-0435 (Ill. App. 2d Dist. 2007); Shaw Suburban Media Group, Inc., et al. v. Chief Justice Robert R. Thomas, et al., No. 07-cv-03289 (N.D. Ill. 2007). 
  • Represented a Boston daily newspaper in an appeal of a libel judgment awarded to a sitting Superior Court judge and in the filing of a judicial ethics complaint against the judge for threatening the publisher of the newspaper. Murphy v. Boston Herald, Inc., 449 Mass. 42 (2007); In Re Murphy, 452 Mass. 796 (2008). 
  • Represented news media clients in the leading Internet jurisdiction case in the defamation area in which Connecticut-based newspapers and reporters sued for libel in Virginia were dismissed on the grounds that the posting of news articles on websites did not create personal jurisdiction in Virginia. Young v. New Haven Advocate, 315 F.3d 256 (4th Cir. 2002). 
  • Represented a Denver daily newspaper in a lawsuit in which the Colorado Supreme Court abolished the tort of false light in the state. Denver Publishing Co. v. Bueno, 54 P.3d 893 (Colo. 2002). 
  • Represented client El Nuevo Dia, the largest daily newspaper in Puerto Rico, in a civil rights lawsuit against Governor Pedro Rossello and members of his administration for violation of the newspaper’s First Amendment rights. El Dia, Inc. v. Rossello, 165 F.3d 106 (1st Cir. 1999). 
  • Secured third-party standing for a non-media company related to El Nuevo Dia to bring a First Amendment claim against Governor Pedro Rossello. El Dia, Inc. v. Rossello, 30 F. Supp. 2d 160 (D.P.R. 1998).
  • In the area of pre-publication review, has worked on the biographies of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, and musician John Lennon.
  • Provided pre-publication counseling to the National Geographic Society for two books, a television documentary, and a major magazine article all related to the discovery of the long-lost Gospel of Judas.

Recognitions

  • Washingtonian magazine: One of Washington's top media and First Amendment lawyers (2004 to present)
  • Best Lawyers in America© (2008 to present)
    Copyright 2013 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC
    • Washington, D.C.: First Amendment Law
  • Washington, D.C. "Super Lawyer" (2010, 2011, 2013, 2014)

Pro Bono

  • Represented blogger writing stories about land transactions in the United States by a foreign country. Defamation suit was filed against blogger after blogger accused an attorney of stealing $1.5 million. Case was won on summary judgment.

Services

Prior Positions

  • Legal Times: Federal Court Reporter
  • The Washington Post: Newsroom Assistant to David Broder

Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court, 2010
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, 2007
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, 2000
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, 2011
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, 2011
  • U.S. District Court, District of Maryland, 2000
  • District of Columbia, 1998
  • Massachusetts [Inactive], 1996

Education

  • J.D., Yale Law School, 1995
  • M.A., Harvard University, 1992, Mellon Fellow in the Humanities
  • A.B., Stanford University, 1988