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Michael J. Grygiel co-chairs Greenberg Traurig, LLP’s National Media and Entertainment Litigation Group. He focuses his practice on media/First Amendment law, with an emphasis on defending news and entertainment organizations from newsgathering and publication-related claims, including defamation, copyright infringement and invasion of privacy matters. He also represents media companies and other clients in complex Lanham Act, trade secret and Internet-related litigation and counseling. As counsel of record, he has defended defamation and invasion of privacy cases in state and federal courts in jurisdictions across the country, including New York, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas.

Michael has served as lead counsel to media and other clients in bet-the-company litigation, including a nationally watched news aggregation copyright case and a trade libel action against a major medical device manufacturing company. He is experienced representing the press in a wide range of matters involving applications for access to civil and criminal court proceedings and records, as well as in freedom of information law cases in both federal and state courts.  He has argued appeals for media clients in the First, Second, Third and Fourth Departments of the Appellate Division in New York State, the New York Court of Appeals, the Second Circuit, and the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.

In addition to his media defense practice, Michael is the personal attorney for several prominent professional athletes.


  • Media and First Amendment law
  • Defense of defamation actions
  • Complex commercial litigation
  • Digital rights management
  • Copyright infringement - litigation and counseling
  • Advertising and Lanham Act matters
  • Invasion of privacy and news-gathering claims
  • Trade secret litigation and counseling
  • Internet litigation and counseling
  • Reporter’s and newsroom subpoenas
  • Pre-publication review
  • Litigation and counseling regarding social networks, blogs and user-generated content
  • Anonymous/pseudonymous postings to news websites
  • Right of publicity litigation and counseling
  • “Hot news” misappropriation litigation and counseling
  • Digital Millennium Copyright Act service-provider liability limitations
  • Press and public access to court proceedings and judicial documents
  • Freedom of Information Act litigation
  • Professional athlete representation



  • Lead national litigation counsel for several media clients, including an industry-leading newspaper/website publishing company.
  • Primary outside counsel to the New York News Publishers Association, Inc.
  • Primary regional litigation counsel to an international broadcasting/entertainment company.
  • Represented numerous national media companies and publications in significant litigation matters.


  • Jeanty v. Police Officer Michael Cerminaro, et al., 2023 WL 325012 (Jan. 20, 2023) (affirming Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal of defamation Complaint based on New York’s statutory fair report privilege)
  • Gannett Media Corp. v. United States, Case No. 22-2160 (2d Cir. December 20, 2022) – obtained Second Circuit’s vacatur of district court’s order sealing records pertaining to prosecutorial misconduct for failure to comply with First Amendment’s requirements.
  • Sandmann v. Gannett Co., Inc., 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132990 (E.D. Ky) (Jul. 26, 2022) (granting summary judgment dismissing defamation complaint on ground that statement plaintiff “blocked” a Native American Indian on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial constituted protected opinion under First Amendment)
  • Doe v. Flores, 2022 Ky.App.LEXIS 85 (Ky. Ct. App. 2022) (dismissing defamation complaint against comedian Kathy Griffin based on lack of personal jurisdiction under Kentucky’s long-arm statute and Due Process Clause)
  • Earley v. GateHouse Media Pennsylvania Holdings, Inc., 2013WL 5466149 (M.D.Pa. Sept. 30, 2013) (granting newspaper’s Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss because defamation complaint brought by public official plaintiff failed to specify factual allegations sufficient to support a plausible inference of actual malice)
  • Gisel v. Clear Channel Communications, Inc., 94 A.D.3d 1525, 942 N.Y.S.2d 751, 40 Med. L. Rep. 2137 (4th Dep’t 2012) (affirming dismissal as a matter of law of defamation claim asserted against radio talk show host)
  • Hadley v. GateHouse Media Freeport Holdings, Inc., No. 12-Civ.-1548, 2012 WL 2866463 (N.D. Ill. July 10, 2012) (granting Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss libel claim asserted against newspaper website on basis of immunity provided under Section 230 of Communications Decency Act for user-generated content)
  • Feldman v. Edwab, 2011 WL 1298717 (N.D.N.Y. Mar. 31, 2011) (granting libel defendant’s Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss complaint based on application of constitutional opinion privilege)
  • Proskin v. Hearst Corp., 31 Med. L. Rptr. 2545 (Albany Co. Sup. Ct., 2003), aff’d, 14 A.D.3d 782 (3d Dep’t 2005) (dismissal of defamation claims asserted against newspaper by former District Attorney and County Court Judge based on statement that he “altered” client’s will)
  • Anslow v. J. R. Gach and Clear Channel Communications, Inc., 32 Med. L. Rptr. 2438 (Albany Co. Sup. Ct., 2003) (dismissal of defamation case against radio talk show host who called social services case worker a “murderer” and “baby killer” on the air)
  • Garns v. Lonsberry and Clear Channel Communications, Inc., 32 Med. L. Rptr. 1907 (Monroe Co. Sup. Ct., 2003) (dismissal of defamation and emotional distress claims asserted against radio talk show host and broadcasting station)
  • Moon v. Clear Channel Communications, Inc., 307 A.D.2d 628, 763 N.Y.S.2d 157 (3d Dep’t 2003) (dismissal of breach of contract and fraud claims asserted by radio personalities against former employer)
  • Bartel v. Capital Newspapers Div. of the Hearst Corp., 174 Misc.2d 380, 664 N.Y.S.2d 398, 26 Med. L. Rptr. 2500 (Albany Co. Ct., 1997) (dismissal of freelance newspaper correspondent’s breach of contract claim as preempted by Copyright Act)
  • Doe v. Hearst Corp., 25 Med. L. Rptr. 1483 (Albany Co. Sup. Ct., 1996) (dismissal of invasion of privacy and emotional distress claims based on newspaper’s alleged identification of sexual assault victim)
  • Commonwealth of Mass. v. George W. Prescott Publ. Co., 463 Mass. 258, 973 N.E.2d 667 (Mass. 2012) (Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts holds that state’s rape shield law does not preclude public’s presumptive right of access to search warrant materials filed in court, that no good cause exists for continued impoundment, and that disclosure will not impair criminal Defendant’s 6th Amendment fair trial right)
  • Mancheski v. Gabelli Group Capital Partners, 39 A.D.3d 499, 835 N.Y.S.2d 595 (2d Dep’t 2007) (intervention motion by Bloomberg News for public access to summary judgment motion documents in civil case involving prominent hedge fund)
  • Lugosch v. Congel, 435 F.3d 110 (2d Cir. 2006) (“immediate” right of public access to sealed summary judgment motion papers; for the first time, Second Circuit recognized a First Amendment-based presumption of access to judicial documents in civil proceedings)
  • People v. Porco, 34 Med. L. Rptr. 2281 (Albany Co. Ct., 2006) (public access to pretrial suppression hearings and defendant’s videotaped statement given to police in high profile murder prosecution)
  • Jane Doe 1 v. New York University, 786 N.Y.S.2d 892, 2004 WL 2980137 (N.Y. Co. Supt. Ct., 2004) (prior restraint on publication of sexual offense victims’ names and unsealing of court records)
  • United States v. Lawrence, 167 F.Supp.2d 504 (N.D.N.Y. 2001) (public access to sentencing letters submitted on behalf of convicted defendant)
  • Daily News L.P., et al. v. Teresi, 265 A.D.2d 129, 706 N.Y.S.2d 527, 28 Med. L. Rptr. 2528 (3d Dep’t 2000) (public access to pre-trial criminal motion papers)
  • Daily News L.P., et al. v. Teresi, 275 A.D.2d 812, 712 N.Y.S.2d 704 (3d Dep’t 2000) (public access to criminal trial exhibits)
  • People v. Arroyo, 177 Misc.2d 106, 675 N.Y.S.2d 272 (Schoharie Co. Ct., 1998) (public access to pretrial criminal hearing and court records)
  • People v. Hansen, 27 Med. L. Rptr. 1605 (Albany Co. Ct., 1998) (public access to pretrial criminal hearing and court records)
  • A.W. Lawrence & Co. v. State of New York Ins. Dept., 238 A.D.2d 700, 656 N.Y.S.2d 975 (3d Dep’t 1997) (public access to NYS Insurance Dept. license revocation proceeding)
  • In re Savitt/Adler Litigation, 1997 WL 507365 (N.D.N.Y. Aug. 13, 1997) (public access to civil discovery materials)
  • In re Savitt/Adler Litigation, 1997 WL 797511 (N.D.N.Y. Dec. 23, 1997) (public access to summary judgment motions filed under seal)
  • Glens Falls Newspapers v. Berke, 206 A.D.2d 668, 614 N.Y.S.2d 628, 22 Med. L. Rptr. 2511 (3d Dep’t 1994) (public access to recusal motions)
  • Harbatkin v. N.Y.C. Dep’t of Records & Information Servs., 19 N.Y.3d 373 (N.Y. 2012) (New York Court of Appeals granted partial disclosure in unredacted format of interview transcripts from historically significant anti-Communist series of files maintained by New York City Board of Education)
  • Newsday, Inc. v. NYSDOT, 1 Misc.3d 321, 765 N.Y.S.2d 758 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2003), aff’d, 10 A.D.3d 201, 780 N.Y.S.2d 402 (3d Dep’t 2004), aff’d, 5 N.Y.3d 84, 800 N.Y.S.2d 67 (2005) (FOIL access to federally mandated hazardous roadway intersection and priority repair records maintained by NYS Department of Transportation)
  • Daily Gazette Co. v. City of Schenectady, 93 N.Y.2d 145, 710 N.E.2d 1072, 688 N.Y.S.2d 472 (1999) (FOIL disclosure of police department disciplinary records)
  • People v. Porco, 34 Med. L. Rptr. 2281 (Albany County Court, 2006) (still photographic coverage of criminal trial proceedings and television coverage of closing arguments by national CBS news program 48 Hours)
  • People v. Zwack, 188 Misc.2d 761, 729 N.Y.S.2d 846 (Rensselaer Co. Ct., 2001) (audio-visual and still photographic coverage of criminal trial proceedings)
  • Clear Channel Communications, Inc. v. Rosen, 263 A.D.2d 663, 692 N.Y.S.2d 812 (3d Dep’t 1999) (audio-visual coverage of criminal trial proceedings)
  • Kirk v. Commonwealth of Mass., 459 Mass. 67, 944 N.E.2d 135 (Mass. 2011) (Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts applies rigorous standard in extending public’s right of access to civil commitment proceedings)
  • Beechwood Restorative Care Center v. Signor, 5 N.Y.3d 435, 808 N.Y.S.2d 568 (2005) (Amici Curiae ‑ represented several national news organizations in case of first impression involving interpretation of FOIL’s attorneys’ fees provision)
  • Courtroom Television Network, LLC v. State of New York, 5 N.Y.3d 222, 800 N.Y.S.2d 522 (2005) (Amicus Curiae representation of global communications company in support of Court TV’s constitutional challenge to New York State law prohibiting audio-visual coverage of in-court proceedings)
  • New York Civil Liberties Union v. City of Schenectady, 2 N.Y.3d 657, 814 N.E.2d 437, 781 N.Y.S.2d 267 (2004) (Amici Curiae ‑ represented several national news organizations in support of FOIL disclosure of police use of force records)
  • Prior to joining the firm, Michael was Assistant General Counsel at University of Vermont in Burlington and Director of the Arthur Levitt Public Policy Center at Hamilton College, where his teaching concentrated on First Amendment and constitutional law.

Recognition & Leadership

  • Listed, Law360, "MVP - Media & Entertainment," 2023
  • Listed,The Best Lawyers in America, 2007-2024
    • Media Law, 2007-2024
    • Litigation - First Amendment, 2022-2024
  • Listed, Chambers USA Guide, 2023
    • Media & Entertainment: First Amendment Litigation, 2023
    • First Amendment Litigation, 2023
  • Listed, The Legal 500 United States, Media and Entertainment: Litigation, "Recommended Lawyer," 2023
  • Team Member, Law360 "Product Liability Practice Group of the Year," 2021-2022
  • Listed, Thomson Reuters, "Stand-Out Lawyers," 2022-2023
  • Listed, Acritas Stars™ Independently Rated Lawyers, "Star Lawyers," 2021
  • Law360 Media & Entertainment Editorial Advisory Board, 2016-2018
  • Listed, Super Lawyers magazine, Upstate New York Super Lawyers, 2007-2019
  • Rated, AV Preeminent® 5.0 out of 5.0

°AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell DistinguishedSM and Martindale-Hubbell NotableSM are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell® certification procedures, standards and policies.

  • Board Member, Media & Entertainment Editorial Advisory Board, Law360, 2016-2019
  • Chair, New York State Bar Association, Media Law Committee, 2009-2012
  • Member, Albany County Bar Association
  • Member, Advisory Board, Tully Center for Free Speech, Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University
  • Member, Steering Committee, New York State Fair Trial/Free Press Conference


  • J.D., Temple University Beasley School of Law, 1983
  • B.A., Hamilton College, 1979
  • New York
  • District of Columbia
  • Vermont
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York
  • Supreme Court of the United States