Business and Commercial Litigation
Mr. Codell has extensive experience representing businesses, corporations, officers, directors, employers, and employees in a wide range of business and commercial litigation in trial and appellate courts. A representative sample of the matters he has handled includes the following:
- Representation of employers and employees in disputes and litigation regarding employment contracts and allegations of discrimination and wrongful termination, including successful defense on appeal of a major television network and a television station against claims of "reverse discrimination" by a former news anchor for the station. See Hicks v. KNTV Television, Inc., 160 Cal.App.4th 994 (2008).
- Defense of corporate officers and directors in numerous securities lawsuits, including class actions, in trial court and appellate proceedings.
- Successful representation of LLC members in an appeal involving the scope of an arbitrator's authority.
- Representation of companies and individuals in many entertainment-related matters (see below).
Entertainment, Media, and Intellectual Property Litigation
Mr. Codell has handled a wide variety of legal matters for major clients in the television, motion picture, recording, and advertising industries. The matters he has handled have concerned the First Amendment, copyright law, antipiracy and internet issues, idea origination, defamation allegations, right of publicity, talent contracts, profit participation, allegations of employment discrimination, and insurance issues. He has represented major television and motion picture studios, broadcast and cable networks, production companies, recording companies, advertising companies, and individual producers and writers. The matters he has handled have included the following:
- Representation of major television studios in numerous disputes and lawsuits regarding profit participation and talent contracts.
- Representation of motion picture studios, television studios, and television networks regarding copyright issues, including matters involving the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
- Representation of a major television network, a television studio, and individual writers and producers in a lawsuit alleging misappropriation of ideas, defamation, and fraud in connection with the creation of a hit television series. Obtained dismissal of the misappropriation and defamation claims on First Amendment grounds at the demurrer stage and obtained dismissal of the fraud claims on summary judgment.
- Successful appellate defense of a major motion picture actor against allegations of fraud in connection with cast insurance coverage.
Appellate and Constitutional Litigation
Mr. Codell brings to his appellate and constitutional litigation practice a background that includes clerking for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Judge David S. Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and practicing law with Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe, widely regarded as among the nation’s preeminent constitutional and appellate practitioners. In 2013, Mr. Codell served as the Visiting Legal Director and Arnold D. Kassoy Senior Scholar of Law of the Williams Institute, a national think tank at UCLA School of Law. In 2014, Mr. Codell became Constitutional Litigation Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
Mr. Codell’s appellate practice has included state and federal court cases concerning a wide range of matters including constitutional law, employment law, insurance, securities law, banking issues, arbitration, property rights, tort law, the California initiative process, and civil rights.
Mr. Codell’s constitutional practice has included successful litigation on behalf of the First Amendment rights of television networks, studios, writers and producers, as well as numerous cases in which he has successfully argued for precedent-setting rulings regarding civil rights.
A sample of the appellate and constitutional matters that David Codell has handled includes the following:
- Successful litigation of First Amendment defense against claims of defamation and misappropriation of ideas brought against a major television network, a television studio, and individual writers and producers of a hit television series.
- Successfully served, along with other NCLR lawyers, as counsel in the Supreme Court for three Tennessee same-sex couples who challenged Tennessee's refusal to recognize their marriages, which they lawfully entered into in other states before moving to Tennessee. The Supreme Court held that the U.S. Constitution requires that states throughout the nation must permit same-sex couples to marry and must recognize their lawful marriages entered into in other states.
- Served, along with other NCLR lawyers, as counsel for same-sex couples in Alabama, Florida, and Idaho who successfully challenged state laws excluding same-sex couples from marriage. See Latta v. Otter, 771 F.3d 456 (9th Cir. 2014).
- Served as appellate co-counsel, along with other NCLR lawyers, for plaintiffs who successfully challenged Utah's exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage, resulting in a holding by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit that the U.S. Constitution requires states to permit same-sex couples to marry and to recognize the out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples--the first such holding by any federal appellate court. See Kitchen v. Herbert, 755 F.3d 1193 (10th Cir. 2014).
- Along with other NCLR lawyers, successfully represented Equality California, the state's largest LGBT rights organization, in litigation successfully defending California's first-of-its-kind legislation prohibiting state-licensed therapists from trying to change the sexual orientation or gender expression of patients under 18 years old. The Ninth Circuit upheld California's statute, see Pickup v. Brown, 740 F.3d 1208 (9th Cir. 2013), and the Supreme Court allowed the Ninth Circuit's ruling to stand.
- Along with other NCLR lawyers, successfully represented New Jersey's largest LGBT rights organization, Garden State Equality, in litigation in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld New Jersey's law prohibiting therapists from attempting to change minors' sexual orientation or gender expression. See King v. Governor of the State of New Jersey, 767 F.3d 216 (3rd Cir. 2014).
- Successful representation of numerous plaintiffs in numerous plaintiffs in litigation in which the California Supreme Court ruled that the state of California must permit same-sex couples to marry and that laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation are subject to the strictest level of constitutional scrutiny. See In re Marriage Cases, 43 Cal.4th 757 (2008). Representation of Equality California and numerous plaintiffs in litigation upholding approximately 18,000 marriages of same-sex couples that were performed in California in 2008 before the enactment of California's Proposition 8. See Strauss v. Horton, 46 Cal.4th 364 (2009).
- In United States v. Windsor, 133 S.Ct. 2675 (2013) (invalidating Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act), and Hollingsworth v. Perry, 133 S.Ct. 1521 (2013) (regarding Proposition 8), co-authored a friend-of-the-court brief submitted to the Supreme Court on behalf of Williams Institute scholars, the National Women's Law Center, and other leading women's legal groups, explaining that laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation should be subject to heightened scrutiny by the courts because such laws frequently are impermissibly based on gender-based stereotypes about women's and men's roles in relationships and families. See http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Brief-of-Amici-Curiae-Williams-Institute-Scholars-and-Womens-Legal-Groups-in-U.S.-v.-Windsor-No.-12-307.pdf.
- Successful representation of Equality California and numerous same-sex couples in trial court and appellate litigation that resulted in repeated rulings in 2005 and 2006 upholding California's domestic partnership statutes against constitutional challenges. See Knight v. Superior Court, 128 Cal.App.4th 14 (2005).
- Representation of high-school students in Orange, California in the first case in the United States in which a court ordered a school district to permit a gay-affirming student club to meet on campus. See Colin ex rel. Colin v. Orange Unified School District, 83 F.Supp.2d 1135 (2000).