Krista Lee Baughman
Krista leads the firm’s First Amendment and defamation practice. She litigates some of the most complex and cutting-edge speech questions of the day, and her cases frequently make new law. Krista has obtained multi-million dollar judgments on behalf of her speech clients. She is a fierce advocate for journalists, businesses, celebrities, high-profile individuals, and private people whose speech rights are being threatened by other citizens or the government.
Krista is a sought-after anti-SLAPP lawyer, with an accomplished record of success litigating special motions to strike for both plaintiffs and defendants, across the nation. Professionals including other attorneys regularly choose Krista for their most sensitive matters, and for her skill in crafting a holistic strategy that weaves legal merits together with public- and human-relations concerns and other non-legal considerations. Krista regularly speaks and writes about First Amendment, defamation, and anti-SLAPP issues, and her passion in this field brings unparalleled representation to her clients.
As a partner of Dhillon Law Group with over a decade of experience in the courtroom, Krista has managed precedent-setting cases, including those that:
- Established that university Title IX proceedings are protected forums for speech under California’s anti-SLAPP statute;
- Defined the parameters of California’s “revenge porn” law as applied to elected officials;
- Achieved a landmark settlement to ensure the First Amendment rights of students at UC Berkeley;
- Eradicated unconstitutional speech-restricting policies in a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of San Clemente on behalf of its citizens;
- Clarified the 9th Circuit standard for due process liability against police, and government qualified immunity, in crowd control situations.
Krista is driven by helping people find solutions for the most stressful and high-stakes problems in their business and personal lives. Krista’s clients appreciate her insightful assessment of legal issues, her creativity in crafting a strategy that thinks three steps ahead, her attention to detail in the execution, and her integrity throughout. Krista is admitted to practice in New York and California and litigates in state and federal courts around the nation. She is proficient in French. On the weekends you can find her going on a family hike, experimenting in the kitchen, or engaging in legal or philosophical debates with her husband.
Reiterman v. Abid (U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, pro hac vice). Obtained take-down orders in initial stage of defamation lawsuit, in connection with anonymous cyber campaign published about client on Reddit, Google, Microsoft, WordPress, Change.org, and others. Obtained $6.5 million judgment for client following victory on appeal and successful motion for summary judgment.
Alonso v. Chahal (San Francisco Superior Court). Defeated appeal and ultimately obtained $12,102,994.07 judgment for professional marketing executive client who was publicly defamed by her former employers.
Katherine Hill v. Kenneth Heslep et al. (Los Angeles Superior Court). In conspiracy and revenge porn matter involving journalist’s reporting of alleged illegal and unethical conduct by a member of Congress, obtained anti-SLAPP order striking complaint and awarding attorneys’ fees in favor of journalist clients.
Woodell v. Bernstein et al. (San Mateo Superior Court). Obtained case-terminating sanctions following successful motion concerning plaintiff’s intentional destruction/ spoliation of evidence in case involving opposing candidates for Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board.
Pekgoz v. Ehrhardt (Los Angeles County Superior Court, 2016). Obtained anti-SLAPP order striking complaint and awarding attorneys’ fees on behalf of client who was sued for defamation in connection with statements made in a university Title IX proceeding. Case created new precedent establishing that Title IX proceedings are protected forums for speech under the anti-SLAPP statute.
Young America’s Foundation v. Napolitano et al. (U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, 2018). In federal free speech, retaliation, due process, and equal protection lawsuit involving university’s discriminatory application of a policy to restrict on campus speech by students, achieved landmark settlement to ensure the First Amendment rights of students at University of California, Berkeley.
Malamud et al. v. City of San Clemente (U.S. District Court, Central District of California, 2019). In federal free speech and due process lawsuit involving city’s efforts to stifle clients from speaking out against city at city council meetings, achieved settlement protecting the citizens of San Clemente by eradicating the City’s use of unconstitutional speech-restricting policies.
Hernandez v. City of San Jose, 897 F.3d 1125, 1132 (9th Circuit, 2018). Achieved precedent-setting 9th Circuit decision that clarified the standard for due process liability against police, and government qualified immunity, in crowd control situations.
Hubbard v. TaskRabbit, Inc. (Cal. Court of Appeals, Fourth Appellate District, Division Three, 2020). In matter involving alleged personal injury, obtained defense judgment for TaskRabbit following victory on appeal and successful motion for summary judgment.
A.H., a minor, et al. v. Saint Francis High School, et al. (Santa Clara County Superior Court, 2021). Defeated anti-SLAPP motion by private high school seeking to strike clients’ defamation claim, in matter involving high school’s arbitrary and capricious expulsion and defamation of minor students.
Dal Santo v. Nguyen et al. (Los Angeles Superior Court, 2021). Obtained anti-SLAPP order striking complaint and awarding attorneys’ fees in favor of client in defamation lawsuit involving client’s lawful speech on social media.
RPLAC v. Barnett (Los Angeles Superior Court, 2010). In lawsuit by competing political faction to improperly control fundraising and operations of political party organization, obtained anti-SLAPP order striking complaint and awarding attorneys’ fees to political party organization client.
- United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
- United States District Court:
- Central District of California
- Northern District of California
- Eastern District of California
- Southern District of California
- Southern District of New York
- Eastern District of New York
- District of Columbia
- Lehigh University, B.A. International Relations, magna cum laude
- Brooklyn Law School, J.D., cum laude
|Anti-SLAPP protection to public records requester answers some questions, but bets others||The Daily Journal||2023|
|6th Circuit’s Sandmann ruling blurs the distinction between fact and opinion||The Daily Journal||2023|
|First Amendment not a likely impediment to Social Media Transparency Law||The Daily Journal||2022|
|Are politicians’ sex lives a ‘matter of public concern’?||The Daily Journal||2021|
|Can state anti-SLAPP laws apply in federal court?||The Daily Journal||2021|
|UC Berkeley, birthplace of the growing anti-free speech movement||The Hill||2017|
|When Employees Speak for the State||The Daily Journal||2015|
|Creating a Matrix for Truth in Social Media||ReutersNEXT Virtual Global Conference||December, 2021|
|An ‘Uncivil War’: Examining Political Tribalism and the Rise of the Grievance Culture”||Thomson Reuters Institute||March, 2021|
|Sound and Fury: Morality, Ideology and the rise of “Cancel Culture”||Thomson Reuters Institute||September, 2020|
|Battling Corporate Internet Trolls: Going After Imposters and Competitors That Break the Law||Strafford MCLE Presentation||July, 2020|
|Free Speech Panel||UC Berkeley School of Law||April, 2017|
|Free Speech Panel||Golden Gate University School of Law||October, 2017|