January 14, 2020

The firm’s Content, Media and Entertainment (CME) Practice secured victories and successes in several significant matters, culminating in its recognition as Practice Group of the Year in the categories of Media & Entertainment and Sports & Betting.  The honor recognizes law firms behind what Law360 calls the “litigation wins and major deals that resonated throughout the legal industry in the past year.” 

Co-chaired by Partners Andrew H. Bart and David R. Singer, the CME Practice has been named a Media & Entertainment Practice Group of the Year seven times since 2011.  This is the first year that Law360 created a category for Sports & Betting.

We represented FOX Sports in a groundbreaking deal to launch FOX Bet, a first-of-its-kind national media and sports wagering partnership in the United States.  Partner Carissa Coze led the matter. 

In another high-profile media and entertainment matter, we obtained a Ninth Circuit victory for the plaintiff in Waverly Kaffaga v. Thomas Steinbeck et al., a copyright lawsuit over the rights to such iconic works as East of Eden and The Grapes of Wrath.  Our victory was on behalf of Steinbeck’s stepdaughter and executor to the Estate of Elaine Steinbeck, the author’s late third wife.  The ruling clears up much of the confusion about who actually owns the rights to the author’s works and allows long-stalled film and television projects to potentially move forward. Partner Susan J. Kohlmann led the team that included Partner Alison I. Stein.

In addition, Partner David A. Handzo and a firm team represented Sony Music Entertainment in an arbitration and related New York state court proceeding concerning royalty rates.  We also represented Fox in a copyright infringement lawsuit over the television show Empire; in 2019, the US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal in the case, preserving a Third Circuit victory for Fox.  Partners Richard L. Stone and Andrew J. Thomas led that team.

We also represented two daily fantasy sports operators, FanDuel and DraftKings, before the Indiana Supreme Court.  The case addressed questions about the scope of the “newsworthy” exception to Indiana’s right of publicity law and presented huge stakes not only for fantasy sports businesses, but also for the burgeoning sports betting industry.  Partner Ian Heath Gershengorn argued before the state’s high court. Serving as counsel for FanDuel, the firm also successfully opposed a proposed three-year ban on going to market in Illinois.  Due to our efforts, the proposal was changed to allow FanDuel to begin operating in the state immediately, first by partnering with an Illinois-based company and then on its own after 18 months.  Partner Clifford W. Berlow led the matter.

The CME Practice also includes Partners Anthony M. Basich, Emily Chapuis, Steven R. Englund, Amy M. Gallegos, Christopher S. Lindsay, Michael J. Nelson, Thomas J. Perrelli, Luke C. Platzer, Devi M. Rao, Gianni P. Servodidio, Julie Ann Shepard, AnnaMarie A. Van Hoesen and Previn Warren, and Special Counsel David W. Sussman

Jenner & Block was one of five firms recognized in the United States in each of the two categories, and the only firm to receive recognition in both.