Pierce Law Group LLP

David Albert Pierce

David Albert Pierce

David Albert Pierce

David Albert Pierce

Education

Cornell Law School
Juris Doctorate
Concentration in Business Law & Regulation

Binghamton University
Bachelor of Science (BS)
Honors, Political Science/Business

Elon University
Adjunct Professor
"Media Law & Ethics"
Spring 2011, Spring 2015

Loyola Marymount University
Graduate School of FIlm & Television

Adjunct Professor
"The Business of Screenwriting"
2009 - 2010

UCLA Extension
Adjunct Lecturer
Entertainment Studies
"Organizing, Financing & Running An Entertainment Start-Up Production Company"
1998 - Present

Bar Admissions

State Bar of California
United States Supreme Court
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
USDC, Central District of California
USDC, Northern District of California
USDC, Southern District of California

Past Special Appearances:
New York State Supreme Court
U.S. District Court for Maryland

Areas of Practice

Entertainment Law
Film Finance
Intellectual Property
Copyright Law
Trademarks
Trade Secrets
Privacy Law
Licensing
Cyberlaw
Corporate Law
Securities Regulation
Film
Labor & employment law
Entertainment
University Teaching
Educational Seminars
Columnist
Litigation
Business Affairs

Managing Member

David is the Managing Member of Pierce Law Group LLP, a full-service boutique law firm established in 1996 in Beverly Hills, California serving the creative community, emerging start-up companies, and certain high net-worth individuals. with a specialty in representing indie filmmakers. David’s law practice includes entertainment law, intellectual property (copyright, trademarks, right of publicity), film finance, production counsel, and labor & employment issues affecting the entertainment industry with an emphasis on film, television and new media. Prior to starting Pierce Law Group LLP, David worked for four years as an Associate Attorney at Fisher & Phillips, where he focused on management-side labor & employment law -- a focus that he now applies to the needs of those in the entertainment industry.

Since 1998, David has taught a course on legal and business aspects of running production companies at UCLA Extension. He is an Adjunct Professor at Elon University (Semester In LA Program) teaching “Media Law & Ethics.” He has also taught a course on the “Business of Screenwriting” as an Adjunct Professor at LMU School of Film & Television. He frequent lectures at film festivals and seminar programs throughout the US and the world, serving as a guest lecturer at the University of St. Petersburg School of Film in St. Petersburg, Russia and as a seminar panelist in the Dominican Republic. He is an annual speaker at Slamdance Film Festival and teaches an annual course on “Film & TV Clearance” at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Visiting Professor Series. He has also testified as Expert Witness on Joint Employment in Entertainment (Bell v. GM).

Honors, Awards, and Activities

Southern California SuperLawyers 2015-2017

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. See David Albert Pierce’s SuperLawyers listing by clicking here.

Admitted to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum LLC (January 2015)

Established in 1993, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. Membership Qualifications: (1) Member of the Bar in good standing; (2) Acted as principal counsel in an arbitration, court or jury trial in which the client(s) received a negotiated settlement or entered final judgment in the amount of One Million Dollars or more (summary adjudication or default proceedings do not qualify); and (3) Case must be final and not subject to appeal or other possible modification.

Reported Cases

Kramer v. Skyhorse Publ., Inc., 45 Misc. 3d 315 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. July 14, 2014)

Practice Area: Defamation / 1st Amendment

Outcome: Defense Motion to Dismiss granted in favor of Pierce Law Group LLP client, Fred Stoller

Description: Kenny Kramer is the real life inspiration of the character “Cosmo Kramer” from the legendary TV Sitcom “Seinfeld.” Fred Stoller was a TV writer on “Seinfeld.” Fred wrote a book about his experiences in television called, “Maybe We Will Have You Back.” One chapter in the book detailed Fred’s experiences with Kenny Kramer and his real-life bus tour called “Kramer Reality Tours” which shows tourists NYC landmarks relevant to the Seinfeld TV Show. Kramer sued for defamation based on a passage in the chapter which he found unflattering. The NY Supreme Court sided with Pierce Law Group’s arguments on behalf of Stoller and dismissed the case in its entirety. The lengthy decision provides a good primer on how the laws of defamation work and the numerous elements that need to be shown as Kramer unsuccessfully attempted to raise a wide assortment of arguments as to why his lawsuit had merit.

LWRC Int'l, LLC v. Mindlab Media, LLC, 838 F. Supp. 2d 330 (D. Md. Sept. 26, 2011)

Practice Area: Intellectual Property

Outcome: Defense Motion to Dismiss Granted

Significance: Established first of its kind precedent providing for exception to the long held “First To File” Rule

Description: Pierce’s client was prepared to file a multimillion dollar right of publicity/copyright lawsuit in California against a company based in Maryland. The Maryland company asked Pierce to refrain from filing his California case as a professional courtesy while the Maryland company purportedly was awaiting discussions with it insurance carrier in what it said would settle the case. In actuality, the Maryland company’s request for a delay was a tactic to allow the company to secretly race to the Maryland courthouse so as to secure a home state advantage by bringing a declaratory relief action. When Pierce realized his client had been double-crossed, he filed the California case a day later and brought a motion to have the Maryland case dismissed. The general rule has throughout time always been that the “first to file” gets to have the case decided in the court in which the matter was first filed. Never before had a single reported case ever recognized an exception to this rule, although many prior cases had tried to argue for exceptions. Pierce successfully argued and won his motion for dismissal. The court was outraged by the deceit which led the Maryland company to file first. The court ruled, “In the race to the courthouse, one litigant may not tie the shoelaces of another litigant together.”

Castillo v. Pacheco, 150 Cal. App. 4th 242 (Cal. App. 2d Dist. Apr. 25, 2007)

Practice Area: First Amendment / Anti-SLAPP

Outcome: Court of Appeals affirmed lower court denial of Defendant’s Anti-SLAPP motion in favor of Pierce Law Group LLP’s client.

Significance: Case of apparent case of first impression examined if California's anti-SLAPP law applies to acts in furtherance of free exercise of religion. 

Description: In case placing the First Amendment & California’s Anti-SLAPP law at issue, the ACLU on behalf of Defendant brought an Anti-SLAPP motion seeking to dismiss the claim of the Plaintiff represented by Pierce Law Group LLP. The ACLU on behalf of Defendant argued that the 1st Amendment protected Defendant’s conduct which Plaintiff complained of, and thus the case should be dismissed. The trial court denied Defendant’s motion and the Court of Appeals affirmed in favor of the Pierce Law Group client.

Amicus Curiae Advocacy

Segal v. Rogue Pictures (SCOTUS Docket No. 13-1425, filed June 27, 2014)

Represented the California Society of Entertainment Lawyers in submission of U.S Supreme Court amicus curiae brief in on the issue of need for uniting different federal circuit definitions and judicial tests concerning “substantial similarity and the selection & arrangement principle” in copyright matters.

Volunteer Experience
 
Trustee of Executive Board for Southern California Chapter at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, 2009 – Present
 
Advisory Board Member for Western Division at Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, 2014 – Present
 
Trustee of Cornell Law National Alumni Association’s Executive Board of Directors at Cornell University, 2010 – 2013 (3 years)

Order of Distinguished Attorneys at Beverly Hills Bar Association, 2003 – Present

David has been an active member of Beverly Hills Bar Assoc.since 1996, became a Member of the Order of Distinguished Attorneys in 2003, and has continued to hold that designation. David also participates in the Entertainment Law Section, Intellectual Property Section, Securities Law Section, and is a past Chairman of its Labor & Employment Section. He has sat on multiple BHBA panels as a speaker on a wide array of topics, as well as chairing several of the Association’s educational programs. 

Co-Chair of Seminars & Legal Education Committee at California Society of Entertainment Lawyers, 2013 – Present

CSEL is a nonprofit, non-partisan, professional organization of attorneys representing authors, screenwriters, songwriters, and other creators of intellectual property in the entertainment industry. David is on the Membership committee and is the Co-Chair of CSEL’s Education/Seminars committee. In 2014, David represented CSEL in the filing of an amicus curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a grant of a Writ of Certiorari in a case of great relevance to CSEL given the non profit non-partisan professional organizations compelling interest in the law relating to copyrights in novels, screenplays, film and television treatments, and other literary works, and in the legal standard for determining infringement of such copyrights. [Segal v. Rogue Pictures SCOTUS Docket # 13-1425].

Chairman of Labor & Employment Law Section at Beverly Hills Bar Association, 1999 – 2001 (2 years)
 
Adjunct Lecturer Yearly Visiting Professors Program at The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences 2003 – Present (12 years)
 
Advisory Board / Sponsor / General Counsel at Slamdance

Member, Entertainment Law Section at Beverly Hills Bar Association

Member, Labor & Employment Law Section at Beverly Hills Bar Association

Member, Film Independent

Member, Entertainment Law & Sports Forum at American Bar Association

Member, Securities Law Section at American Bar Association

Member, Labor & Employment Law Section at American Bar Association

Lecturer at California Lawyers for the Arts

Publications
 
Legal Columnist, MovieMaker Magazine, 2003 - Present

Movie Maker Magazine is the nation’s leading resource on the art and business of making movies and the world’s most widely read independent film magazine. Movie Maker’s content is directed at the audience as well as the artist, and its lively mix of interviews, trend-setting criticism, DIY techniques, festival coverage, distribution and financing tips, behind-the-scenes indie “war stories” and appreciations of classic Hollywood actors, directors, cinematographers, producers, screenwriters and editors makes Movie Maker Magazine a perennial favorite and trusted brand with cinema artists and discriminating film fans everywhere. Movie Maker Magazine was founded by Timothy Rhys in Seattle, WA in 1993, and he remains publisher and editor-in-chief. The magazine’s growth over the past 20-plus years has paralleled the explosion of independent cinema as an art form and perhaps the most populist form of artistic expression among young people. Currently based in Santa Monica, CA, Movie Maker Magazine has an international five-times yearly distribution of 44,000, a readership of more than 160,000 and a direct print subscribership of more than 10,000. The magazine’s award-winning website, MovieMaker.com, is one of the most popular sites on the worldwide web and receives more than one million visitors per year.

Interests
 
Lecture and speaking opportunities, film festival attendance, management training, stand-up comedy, film, television, new media/internet law, philanthropic activities, professional sports, skiing, sailing, dogs.