Jenner & Block

 

Ms. Rao has an active US Supreme Court and appellate practice, including arguments before multiple courts of appeals.  Representative matters include:

  • Represented the City of Oakland in a successful brief in opposition at the US Supreme Court, regarding a First Amendment challenge to a city regulation.
  • Argued before the DC Circuit challenging an FCC order related to the low-power frequency radio licensing process.
  • Argued before the Seventh Circuit on a novel question of law under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Represented SoundExchange in a successful DC Circuit appeal on statutory interpretation question regarding the Copyright Act.
  • Served as key member of appellate teams in cases involving, for example, a due process challenge to a university’s sexual misconduct adjudication, and a statutory interpretation question regarding the Federal Power Act.

Ms. Rao also regularly represents clients before federal courts of appeal, state high courts, and the US Supreme Court in filing amicus briefs in high-profile cases.  Representative matters include:

  • Represented the Recording Industry Association of America in the Ninth and Eleventh Circuits and in the New York Courts of Appeals in support of state common law copyrights in pre-1972 sound recordings.
  • Represented the Electronic Software Association in the New York Court of Appeals in support of dismissal of a right of publicity claim against a video game publisher, arguing that video games are a modern form of artistic expression fully protected by the First Amendment.
  • Represented the American Medical Association and other medical and mental health organization in a series of cases across the country involving discriminatory policies against transgender individuals, to assist the court in understanding gender dysphoria and best practices for treatment. 

Ms. Rao also has an active commercial litigation practice, including representing copyright owners and automotive manufacturers.  Representative matters include:

  • Consumer class action defense.  Ms. Rao has represented Nissan in a series of consumer class actions in district court in Florida and Texas, including briefing motions to dismiss, class certification, and summary judgment.
  • Rate-setting litigation on behalf of the recording industry.  Ms. Rao represented the recording industry in a landmark rate-setting proceeding before the Copyright Royalty Judges to determine the rates and terms for royalty payments due for the digital transmission of sound recordings by Satellite Digital Audio Radio Services (SDARS, Sirius XM’s satellite radio service) and Preexisting Subscription Services (PSS) (audio-only music channels in cable/satellite TV packages from music providers that were in existence prior to 1998).  SoundExchange represents all artists and copyright owners in these proceedings and advocates for rates that fairly value their music.  Pursuant to the determination, the rate paid by Sirius XM increased on January 1, 2018, to 15.5% of gross revenues, a “nearly 41 percent jump from the 11 percent the service was paying in the current year,” according to a Billboard article.
  • Class action defense for recording industry group.  Ms. Rao represents the trustees of the AFM & SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund in a putative class action case involving allegations of breach of fiduciary duty.  Following six months of discovery and two amended complaints, the judge overseeing the case has stayed further discovery to consider the Fund’s motion to dismiss.   

In addition, Ms. Rao also brings her appellate research, writing, and argumentation skills to bear on key briefing in the district and state courts including: arbitration clauses and arbitrability, Daubert motions, motions in limine, motions to dismiss, class certification, and summary judgment motions for clients in industries including telecommunications, real estate, technology, financial, and energy.