Paul J. Safier

Of Counsel

safierp@ballardspahr.com
Tel 215.988.9146
Fax 215.864.8999
Philadelphia

Paul J. Safier's practice focuses on representing news, entertainment, and other media clients in defamation, privacy, false advertising, copyright, and trademark lawsuits, as well as representing the press and public in seeking access to court and government records. In addition, he routinely assists journalists with prepublication review, advising clients about intellectual property, libel, and newsgathering risks. Mr. Safier regularly speaks on matters involving the First Amendment and media law. Prior to practicing law, he studied political science at Princeton University and was a lecturer at Princeton, Swarthmore College, and Temple University.

Mr. Safier previously was with the highly regarded First Amendment boutique law firm Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, which merged with Ballard Spahr in October 2017.

Judicial Clerkship

Hon. Thomas L. Ambro of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Representative Experience

  • Successfully represented a coalition of national media entities in unsealing the names of jurors in the high-profile criminal trial of Bill Cosby after the court declared a mistrial.
  • Successfully represented Dow Jones & Company, Inc., in seeking access to records that had been filed under seal in the Delaware Court of Chancery in an investor lawsuit against Theranos, Inc., the once highly touted start-up blood-testing company.
  • Successfully defended ESPN and its journalists against a defamation lawsuit brought by the wife of a prominent assistant basketball coach. The lawsuit challenged a broadcast reporting on sexual abuse allegations by a former ball boy against the coach. The coach’s wife alleged that the broadcast implied she was aware of the abuse and failed to intervene. Granting ESPN’s motion for summary judgment, the court held that the plaintiff was a limited purpose public figure, that the defendants “conducted a painstakingly thorough investigation,” and that the court did not doubt the accuracy of their reporting.
  • Successfully defended hedge fund manager Steven Eisman, both at the trial court level and on appeal, in a defamation case arising out of Michael Lewis’s best-selling book on the origins of the 2008 financial crisis, The Big Short, for which Mr. Eisman was a source. The plaintiff claimed he was defamed by a chapter in the book that depicted a conversation between himself and Mr. Eisman. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s prior grant of summary judgment, holding that the statements concerning the plaintiff were either constitutionally protected opinion or substantially true.
  • Successfully defended CBS television station against a lawsuit brought by a New Jersey church and pastor who claimed they were defamed by a news report describing the arrest of one of the church’s preachers on child molestation charges. After CBS won summary judgment, the ruling was affirmed on appeal.
  • Successfully represented the Associated Press in an action under Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law in obtaining copies of legal invoices paid by the Pennsylvania Senate with government funds.
  • Successfully represented the Associated Press in obtaining unredacted copies of the Governor of Pennsylvania’s calendar entries under Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law, which the Governor’s office had refused to disclose, citing the law’s exception for internal deliberations.

Professional Activities

Third Circuit Bar Association

Philadelphia Bar Association

Recognition & Accomplishments

Pennsylvania Super Lawyers, Rising Star, media & advertising, 2013-2017

Named to the 2010 Pro Bono Roll of Honor in the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania

Publications

"Is It Truthful? Then the Media Has a Right to Publish It," Pennsylvania Law Weekly, February 2, 2017

"The First Amendment, The Courts, and 'Picking Winners,'" 87 University of Washington Law Review 397, 2012 (with Judge Thomas L. Ambro, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit)

"Judicial Approaches to Expectations of Privacy in E-Mail," 3 Bloomberg Law Reports 10, 2010

Recent Speaking Engagements

Panelist, "Know Your Reporting Rights," Radio Television Digital News Association, Washington, D.C., October 20, 2017 

"Legal Q&A," Podcast Movement, Anaheim, California, August 25, 2017

Panelist, "Fake News and the New Administration," Annual Symposium of the University of Pennsylvania Law School Journal of Constitutional Law, Philadelphia, February 10, 2017

Panelist, "Safeguarding the First Amendment Under President Trump," American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, Philadelphia, January 20, 2107

Panelist, "The Freedom of Information Act," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Philadelphia, December 12, 2016

Panelist, "The Charlie Hebdo Controversy," Media and Communications Law Society, Temple Law School, Philadelphia, February 12, 2015

Panelist, "Recent Cases in Defamation and Invasion of Privacy," American Bar Association Forum on Communications Law Annual Conference, Scottsdale, Arizona, February 5, 2015

Panelist, "First Amendment Restrictions on Government Speech," Philadelphia City Law Department, Philadelphia, July 30, 2014


University of Pennsylvania Law School (J.D. 2008, magna cum laude)
University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Articles Editor
Order of the Coif

Princeton University (M.A. 1999)

Amherst College (B.A. 1994, summa cum laude)
Phi Beta Kappa

Pennsylvania

U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Third and 11th Circuits

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania