Marc J. Randazza
Marc John Randazza
November 26, 1969
|Nationality||American and Italian (dual nationality)|
|Alma mater||University of Massachusetts Amherst (Journalism, 1994)|
Georgetown University Law Center (J.D., 2000)
University of Florida (M.A., Mass Communication, 2003)
|Occupation||First Amendment Attorney|
Randazza was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts, on November 26, 1969. He graduated from Gloucester High School in 1987. Randazza attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he majored in journalism. Randazza worked as a journalist and in advertising in Washington, D.C., Palermo, Rome, New York City, and Miami. In 1996, Randazza was inspired to attend law school by the film The People vs. Larry Flynt. He attended Georgetown University Law Center and graduated in 2000. During law school, he interned for Denise Johnson of the Vermont Supreme Court. He continued his First Amendment education by attending the University of Florida, where he earned a master's degree in communications, writing his thesis on vote pairing, which was cited by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Randazza is licensed to practice law in Massachusetts (2002), Florida (2003), California (2010), Arizona (2010), and Nevada (2012). Randazza's first case was representing a fraternity at Boston University when the brothers of that fraternity were accused of destroying their house and other misconduct. He then began practicing in Florida as a real estate attorney. He quickly returned to the First Amendment and media field, taking on representation of an adult bookstore in Fort Myers, Florida. Soon thereafter, he moved to Orlando, Florida where his practice in First Amendment and media law expanded. He started representing defendants in SLAPP suits, pornography businesses, protestors, in often unpopular constitutional law matters.
In 2004, his University of Florida thesis gained attention as vote pairing became a minor issue during the 2004 election. Randazza was asked to debate the issue on Fox News, and thereafter has been a frequent legal commentator on television and in print. Randazza served as a professor of law at Barry University School of Law, located in Orlando, Florida. where he taught First Amendment law, copyright law, trademark law, and entertainment law.
Randazza has a practice that primarily focuses on the areas of First Amendment litigation, adult entertainment, trademark and copyright litigation, and domain name arbitration disputes. He has represented a number of well-known adult entertainment companies including Kink.com, Bang Bus, and Milf Hunter. He also represents media businesses such as BME and bloggers in SLAPP suits.
Randazza represents multiple far-right figures, including conspiracy theorists Alex Jones, Mike Cernovich, and Chuck Johnson; and neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin. Randazza defended a participant in the planning of the violent Unite the Right rally who used the pseudonym "Kristall.night". Kristall.night claimed that a federal subpoena against the app Discord following the deadly rally would reveal her identity and expose her to potential harm through doxing.
Randazza has defended Anglin in a lawsuit filed by a Jewish realtor in Whitefish, Montana, whom Anglin had published the name and address of on his neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer. Randazza had argued that Anglin was not responsible for the subsequent harassment and death threats the woman received, as the personal information was protected as free speech. This claim was rejected by U.S. District Court Judge Dana L. Christensen, who noted that Anglin was actively encouraging and participating in the plaintiff's harassment, and that calls to violence against a private individual are not protected speech.
On July 23, 2018, an automatic appeal was filed with the Nevada Supreme Court regarding a guilty plea and disciplinary recommendation made by the Southern Nevada Disciplinary Panel. The recommendation came after the Disciplinary Panel found true allegations of violations of Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct 1.4 (Communication), 1.7 (Conflict of Interest: Current Clients), 1.8 (Conflict of Interest: Current Clients: Specific Rules), 1.10 (Imputation of Conflicts of Interest), 1.15 (Safekeeping Property), 1.16 (Declining or Terminating Representation), 2.1 (Advisor), 5.6 (Restrictions on Right to Practice), and 8.4 (Misconduct).
In October 2018, Randazza was disciplined and given a one year suspension for ethical violations by the State Bar of Nevada, which was upheld by the Supreme Court of Nevada. Said suspension was stayed, however, with the requirement that he avoid subsequent ethics complaints for the 18 months following entry of the order, complete 20 hours of CLE classes, and pay the costs associated with the proceedings within 30 days.
On January 14, 2019, the Arizona State Bar issued a public reprimand and a suspension based upon some of the misconduct that took place in Nevada. A new disciplinary case was opened in Arizona and California based upon further information and documentation of alleged misconduct by Randazza, to include lying in court documents related to the Alex Jones case in Connecticut.
On May 2, 2019, in the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County, Massachusetts, in a state bar disciplinary proceeding styled In re: Mark John Randazza, Case No. BD-2018-110, a disbarment hearing was conducted regarding an additional ethical violation that the State Bar of Nevada ignored. The State Bar in Florida will be conducting a similar disbarment hearing on May 3, 2019.[needs update]
Randazza has gained attention for handling high-profile First Amendment cases and for his defense of the adult entertainment field. Randazza was named one of the Top 50 newsmakers of the adult entertainment industry by XBIZ World Magazine for the year 2011.
He has represented the defendant in Beck v. Eiland-Hall, a case before the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) filed by political commentator Glenn Beck, concerning a satire website parodying Beck. The WIPO arbitrator ruled against Beck in the case, and in favor of Randazza's client.
In late 2011, Randazza and his firm effectively killed Righthaven, a "copyright troll" company briefly infamous for buying limited rights to copyrighted works for the sole purpose of bringing lawsuits against alleged infringers. On May 9, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the lower court's decision dismissing the case for lack of standing. Righthaven complained of what it called Randazza's "scorched earth judgment enforcement efforts" in its legal filings.
On June 8, 2015, Governor Sandoval signed Nevada Senate bill 444, which in its initial form, stood to largely repeal the Nevada Anti-SLAPP law. The initial form of the law was backed by casino mogul, Steve Wynn. Randazza lobbied to keep the statute in its speech-protective form.
On June 3, 2015, there was an interim arbitration award against Randazza involving Liberty Media Holdings LLC, for whom Randazza had been General Counsel from 2009 to 2012. The Ars Technica article on that case referenced a statement from Randazza's arbitration attorney to the Law Society of Upper Canada calling the arbitrator's neutrality into question. The arbitration dispute arose following Randazza's departure from Liberty and his filing of employment claims against them. Liberty's counterclaims against Randazza in the arbitration focused on allegations Randazza had negotiated bribes from opposing parties in copyright litigation, engaged in conflicts of interest, destroyed evidence, unjustly enriched himself, and committed other breaches of fiduciary duty. Following two and a half years of arbitration proceedings, the arbitrator issued an interim award in favor of Liberty and against Randazza on all claims. Following his arbitration loss, Randazza filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
On April 27, 2016, Randazza filed a friend of the court brief in the lawsuit by Paramount Pictures and CBS against Axanar Productions on behalf of the Language Creation Society. The lawsuit concerned a 21 minute fan made short film, Prelude to Axanar. Paramount Pictures and CBS claimed, among other things, that the film infringed their rights by making use of the Klingon language. Randazza argued that Klingon is a living language, and as such, is a "state of mind"—a system or process, which cannot be copyrighted, unlike a work. Randazza contended that since Klingon was invented in the 1980s, the language has expanded past its origins, pointing to examples like dictionaries, translations of Shakespeare, the Klingon Language Institute, official government statements, a wedding conducted in Klingon, and translation service available through Bing. To support its point, portions of the brief were written in Klingon, employing the Klingon alphabet.
Response to the brief was generally positive. Attorney and blogger Kevin Underhill called it "a terrific brief", and Attorney Ken White of Popehat wrote that "Marc continues to demonstrate that legal writing can be entertaining, irreverent, and persuasive at the same time." In an article on the blog Mental Floss, Linguist Arika Okrent particularly praised the incorporation of the Klingon Language into arguments. Ethan Chiel of Fusion called the brief "a joy to read" and remarked that it was "wonderful to see what is essentially (very serious) fun being had in demonstrating a point in a legal proceeding."
About three weeks after the brief was filed, in an interview on May 20, 2016, J.J. Abrams said that Paramount would drop the lawsuit "within the next few weeks." Abrams further stated that he pushed the studio to stop the lawsuit because "we realized this is not the appropriate way to deal with the fans."
In May 2018 The Satanic Temple (TST) sued Twitter for religious discrimination with pro bono support from Randazza. In August, the Los Angeles chapter of TST disaffiliated in protest, calling Randazza a "Twitter troll and an agent of the alt-right."
Randazza has handled a number of "cameras in the courtroom" cases, defending the rights of the news media to attend and televise courtroom proceedings. Most notably, Randazza successfully argued this issue against Alan Dershowitz. In that case, Randazza represented Courtroom View Network in its quest to televise a highly publicized trial in Las Vegas involving the Las Vegas Sands.
In July 2012, VegasInc and Avvo.com named Randazza one of Las Vegas' Top Lawyers.
On Oct. 1, 2014, Randazza was named by Desert Companion Magazine to its top lawyers in Southern Nevada list.
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