Jones Day's Mike Carvin and Chris Lovrien recognized as Political Activism/1st Amendment Rights Law Trailblazers by National Law Journal
The National Law Journal has named Mike Carvin, a partner in Jones Day's Issues & Appeals Practice in the Washington Office, and Chris Lovrien, a partner in the Firm's Business & Tort Litigation Practice in the Los Angeles Office, to its inaugural list of Political Activism/1st Amendment Rights Law Trailblazers. Through the various Trailblazers special supplements, the NLJ recognizes movers and shakers in the legal industry who have made significant practice, policy, and technological advancements in their areas of law.
Mr. Carvin is among the country's preeminent First Amendment lawyers and a recognized leader in the bar of the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Lovrien is one of the leading litigators of his generation and has been recognized as one of the top 100 lawyers in California.
Together, Messrs. Carvin and Lovrien led Jones Day's representation of Fox Corporation and Fox News in a First Amendment case related to news coverage of COVID-19. WASHLITE, a Washington state nonprofit organization, alleged that in early 2020, hosts and guests on Fox News programs made false statements about the coronavirus and minimized the threat it posed. WASHLITE alleged that Washington residents, influenced by these statements, chose to delay taking appropriate action to protect themselves and others from the virus, which led to negative health and economic consequences. The plaintiff sought treble damages under Washington's consumer protection statute, as well as orders enjoining Fox from televising misinformation about COVID-19 and directing it to retract the challenged statements.
Because these allegations attacked Fox News' credibility and First Amendment rights, the Firm moved swiftly to defend and defeat the claims and filed a motion to dismiss only eight days after WASHLITE filed its amended complaint. The Firm demonstrated that the plaintiff had distorted the statements it challenged and ignored Fox News' reporting on the risks of the virus. It also asserted that the challenged reporting constituted core political speech on a matter of public concern and was therefore protected by the First Amendment. In its order following oral argument, the court adopted all of Fox's First Amendment arguments and granted the motion to dismiss. Plaintiffs have appealed.