Krista Baughman

Krista Lee Baughman

Partner

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.

Contact Information

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:

Aside from her case work, Krista is honored to serve as an Executive Committee member of the San Francisco Bar Association (BASF)’s Litigation Section, and as a Board Member of First Amendment Lawyers Association (FALA). Outside of the law, Krista is passionate about advancing the rights and opportunities of children and is on the Leadership Council of PeerForward, a nonprofit that seeks to close the education gap for low-income students. Krista is also a member of the California Lawyers Association and the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE).

In re: Marla Anne Brown (State Bar of California, October 2023) – following a 5-day trial, obtained full exoneration of all disciplinary charges accusing attorney client of “inciting violence” with rhetorical tweets, setting precedent protecting all California attorneys who wish to exercise their free speech rights without fear of punishment.

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.

  1. United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  2. United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  3. United States District Court:
    1. Central District of California
    2. Northern District of California
    3. Eastern District of California
    4. Southern District of California
    5. Southern District of New York
    6. Eastern District of New York
    7. District of Columbia
    8.  
  • Lehigh University, B.A. International Relations, magna cum laude
  • Brooklyn Law School, J.D., cum laude
Attorney Speech: Trends and Case StudiesFirst Amendment Lawyers Association2023
Creating a Matrix for Truth in Social MediaReutersNEXT Virtual Global Conference2021
An ‘Uncivil War’: Examining Political Tribalism and the Rise of the Grievance Culture”Thomson Reuters Institute2021
Sound and Fury: Morality, Ideology and the rise of “Cancel Culture”Thomson Reuters Institute2020
Battling Corporate Internet Trolls: Going After Imposters and Competitors That Break the LawStrafford MCLE Presentation2020
Free Speech PanelUC Berkeley School of Law2017
Free Speech PanelGolden Gate University School of Law2017
★★★★★ Excellence in every aspect of her job Krista is that very rare gem of an attorney who exceeds one’s expectations at each and every facet of her profession. I came to her with an important First Amendment case involving a government entity. Her enthusiasm to “fight the good fight” was immediately evident. Her grasp of the issues and attention to detail were impressive, as was the speed with which she evaluated the facts and issues. She communicates very effectively and responds quickly, both with the unexpected bonus of always being courteous and pleasant. At the same time, she has a strong writing voice which results in skillfully worded and firmly precise legal documents. Her initial assessment of the case proved to be entirely accurate, as well as completely successful. She approached the defendants aggressively, and swiftly negotiated a fully favorable outcome. There is no better endorsement than prompt success. I wholeheartedly recommend Krista to anyone needing professional and effective representation. – S Barr
Krista Lee Baughman - Dhillon Law Group Partner
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