October 5, 2020

Jonathan Blavin and George Fatheree Named Trailblazers

The Recorder named Jonathan Blavin and George Fatheree California Trailblazers on Oct. 5, 2020 for their pioneer spirit and trails blazed in their respective fields of online platform liability and real estate.

In particular, the publication highlighted Mr. Blavin’s representation of Facebook in obtaining dismissal of a lawsuit brought by a Russian “news” agency after Facebook removed the agency’s content from its platform. The Federal Agency of News (FAN), which was alleged to have interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, sued Facebook after its profile was taken down from the social media site in 2018. The case was ultimately dismissed with prejudice in January 2020 on the basis that FAN’s claims were barred by the Communications Decency Act, and that Facebook, as a private actor, was not subject to freedom of speech claims under the First Amendment. The Recorder also noted recent victories Mr. Blavin has achieved for other clients including Snap, Square, and Airbnb.  

Of the Facebook victory, Mr. Blavin says, “Heading into the 2020 elections in which there are already rumblings of further disinformation campaigns—be it the Russians or other foreign actors—it was important to secure a win so that you are allowed to remove that kind of content.”

Of Mr. Fatheree’s accomplishments, The Recorder noted his work with the J. Paul Getty Trust in purchasing Ebony and Jet’s priceless photo archive that documents decades of African American history featuring politicians, civil rights leaders, lawyers, scientists, musicians, actors, entertainers and athletes, as well as scenes from everyday life. Just one day before the scheduled bankruptcy auction, Mr. Fatheree guided the consortium of foundations through the $30 million purchase. Under normal circumstances, the due diligence for such an acquisition would take weeks, if not longer. Instead, the court granted the bidders a mere two-day extension. Mr. Fatheree managed to do what no other firm likely could — successfully acquire the archive on behalf of the Getty Trust and its partners.

Read more about the honors in The Recorder.

Jonathan Blavin is a partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson whose practice focuses on Internet and privacy-related litigation.

George Fatheree is a partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson who guides clients in complex real estate and art law transactions.