Catherine Robb is of counsel in the Business Litigation Practice Group in the Austin office of Haynes and Boone, LLP. Catherine represents clients in the broadcast industry. Her practice is focused on commercial and business litigation, First Amendment litigation, pre-publication review and editing, copyright and trademark litigation, general commercial litigation, open government issues and privacy concerns. She advises clients concerning media law issues for an extensive array of content providers including online and traditional newspapers, magazines, radio and broadcasters, cable television stations, production companies and music entities.
Selected Client Representations
- McClain v. USA Today Newspaper, 2010 WL 2404651 (Tex. App. - Dallas 2010).
- Rosenfeld v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., 37 Med. L. Rptr. 1348 (C.D. Cal. 2009).
- In re BP Products North America Inc., 263 S.W.3d 117 (Tex. App. - Hou. [1st Dist.] 2006, no pet.).
Selected Publications and Speeches
- "Lawsuits Over Political Ads Raise Questions Over Defamation," interviewee, KVUE News, May 2012.
- "Beyond Thunderdome: The Internet and Social media get Political," KVUE News, May 2012.
- "Strategies for Efficiently and Economically Winning a Media Case," co-author, ABA/TIPS Media Newsletter, Spring 2011.
- Reporter's Privilege Compendium, co-author, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 2010.
- "Local Non-Profit Threatened with Lawsuit Over Documentary Showing," Interviewee, KVUE News, April 2010.
- "Golly, I Just Got Fined by the FCC Again!" Sedgwick's Media Law Bulletin, January 2009.
- "What the $#*& is up with the fleeting expletives (and fleeting images)?” co-author, State Bar of Texas - 18th Annual Entertainment Law Institute, October 2-3, 2008.
- Received the "Austin Under 40 Community Service Award," the Austin Young Men's Business League and Austin Young Women's Alliance, 2007
- American Bar Association, Women in Communications Law Committee, member
- State Bar of Texas, appointed member of the Judicial Relations Committee, 2001-2004 and 2008-2009
- The First Amendment Institute's First Amendment Leadership Program graduate, 2002
- The University of Texas' Commission of 125 and Service to Society Committee, member, 2002-2004
- American Inns of Court - Lloyd Lochridge Inn, Program Chair
- Media Law Resource Center, Entertainment Law Committee
- Austin Film Society, board member, Former Board President
- Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, board member 2006-2012, Former Board Vice-Chair
- Austin Music Foundation, board member, 2004-2010
- Humanities Texas, board member
- LBJ Library Future Forum, founder and chairman
- Austin's PBS Channel, KLRU, vice-chair and board member, Austin City Limits Committee member
- Mayor's Health and Fitness Council, board member
- Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, board member, 2004-2011
- American Heart Association (Capital Area Division), board member, 2003-2009
- University of Texas School of Undergraduate Studies, advisory council, 2012-present
- LBJ School of Public Affairs, advisory council, 2011-present
- Texas Exes Council Member, 2012-present
- Leadership Austin, member and 2003 Graduate
- The Seton Forum, former volunteer
- Reading is Fundamental of Austin, volunteer
- Volunteer Legal Services, volunteer
- Trinity Center, volunteer
- Back on My Feet, volunteer
Selected Representative Experience
Hogs Dogs & Lace, LLC and Crystal Ward v. A&E Television Networks, LLC, Sharp Entertainment, LLC, Christie Chreene and Julie Snead, 75th Judicial District Court of Liberty County, Texas
Plaintiffs sued our clients, including a production company, for breach of implied contract, fraud, negligence, civil conspiracy, and other causes of action based on plaintiffs' assertions that defendants used plaintiffs' allegedly secret ideas and concepts for a reality television show without compensating plaintiffs. The production company, a New York resident with its principal place of business in New York, filed a special appearance asserting that it was not amenable to the personal jurisdiction of the Texas court and that the court could not exercise either specific or general jurisdiction over it. After briefing and a hearing on the special appearance, the trial court sustained the special appearance and dismissed all claims against our client.
Kristina Head a/k/a Kristina Robinson v. Chicory Media, LLC, et al., Cause No. 13-0040; in the 71st District Court of Harrison County, Texas
A participant in a reality television series sued our client, a weekly magazine, for defamation based on its article discussing plaintiff’s appearance on the reality show and allegations made by the mother of plaintiff’s deceased former fiancé. On behalf of the magazine, we filed an answer and anti-SLAPP motion asserting that plaintiff was a public figure, that the article did not say what plaintiff claimed and was not “of and concerning” her, that plaintiff could not establish substantial falsity of the statement at issue, and that the statement was privileged. After a hearing on our anti-SLAPP motion, the court granted the motion and dismissed the case against the magazine.
KTRK Television, Inc. v. Theaola Robinson, Cause No. 01-12-00372-CV; in the First Court of Appeals, Houston, TX
Represented a television station in a libel per se
action brought in response to the station's true reports on the closing of a local charter school due to (among other things) a lack of adequate funds and allegations of financial mismanagement and failure to properly account for state funds. Finding that the station had not accused the plaintiff, the former superintendent of the school, of any criminal activity and that the broadcasts were true, the court of appeals reversed the trial court's denial of the station's Anti-SLAPP Motion and dismissed the case against the station. The court also held that one cannot rely upon third-party user generated content to establish a defamation per se