Leopold, Petrich & Smith Legal Team Joins Ballard Spahr

Two nationally renowned Media and Entertainment Law practices have joined forces to create a powerhouse team with an expanded presence in Los Angeles.

Ballard Spahr was named 2019 Law Firm of the Year for Media Law and Copyright Law by U.S. News and World Report – Best Lawyers. It also serves clients in business and transactions, finance, intellectual property, litigation, and real estate, with lawyers in 15 offices around the country.

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Practice Areas

  • Entertainment
  • Civil Litigation
  • Copyright & Trademark
  • Libel and Slander
  • Unfair Competition


  • Stanford Law School, 1989, J.D.
    • Associate Managing Editor, Stanford Law Review, 1988 - 1989
  • Harvard University, 1984, B.A.
    • cum laude


  • California, 1989
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit, 1990


2049 Century Park East
Suite 3110
Los Angeles, CA 90067

Phone: 310-277-3333
Fax: 310-277-7444
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Robert S. Gutierrez

Mr. Gutierrez is a member of LP&S who handles all aspects of Civil Litigation and Entertainment Law, including matters of Copyright & Trademark, Idea Submission, Libel & Slander, and Unfair Competition.

He is a graduate of Stanford Law School, where he served as Associate Managing Editor of the Law Review. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University.

Selected Experience:

  • Obtained summary judgment for leading music production company FirstCom Music against claims for RICO violations, copyright infringement, and fraud involving hundreds of compositions and sound recordings.
  • Obtained early dismissal of lawsuit filed against producers of motion picture The 33 alleging copyright infringement against the film's score.
  • Provides clearance review of motion picture screenplays and television scripts on issues pertaining to defamation, copyright and trademark infringement, and privacy and publicity rights.
  • Obtained summary judgment for Pure Flix Entertainment in breach of implied contract action filed against the motion picture God's Not Dead.
  • Obtained dismissal for Pure Flix Entertainment in two separate copyright infringement actions filed against the motion picture God's Not Dead.
  • Defended beneficiaries of composer Jimmy Holiday's ex-wife in dispute over ownership of royalties from Jimmy Holiday compositions.
  • Obtained summary judgment dismissing implied in fact contract and breach of confidence claims against the Imagine Television/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation television series Lie to Me, based on findings of clear and detailed proof of independent creation and lack of access.
  • Defended Discovery Communications, Inc. over a television broadcast of The Prosecutors and successfully argued before the California Court of Appeal that the California Supreme Court's decision in Briscoe v. Reader's Digest Association, Inc., 4 Cal.3d 529 (1971) was no longer good law.  On appeal of that decision, obtained a decision by the California Supreme Court officially overruling BriscoeGates v. Discovery Communications, Inc., 34 Cal.4th 679 (2004).
  • Obtained summary judgment for Miramax Film Corp. and writers in breach of implied-in-fact contract claim over motion picture RoundersGrosso v. Miramax Film Corp., 2007 WL 2585053
  • Obtained summary judgment for Wayans Bros. Productions on claims for copyright infringement and breach of implied-in-fact contract over motion picture White Chicks.  A Slice of Pie Productions, LLC v. Wayans Bros. Entertainment, 487 F.Supp.2d 33 (D. Conn. 2007), 487 F.Supp.2d 41 (D. Conn. 2007).
  • Defended ABC Cable Networks Group in two breach of implied-in-fact contract actions over television series Hannah Montana
  • Defended DreamWorks Animation in claim for copyright infringement over motion picture Flushed Away.
  • Defended DreamWorks Animation in claim for breach of implied-in-fact contract over motion picture Bee Movie.
  • Defended publisher Thomas Nelson, Inc. against defamation claim filed against book Through the Storm by Lynne Spears, mother of pop star Britney Spears.
  • Defended producers of motion picture The Killer Inside Me in dispute over remake rights to underlying novel.
  • Defended DVD distributor against right of publicity claims by actresses Michelle Pfeiffer, Diane Keaton, Mandy Moore, Sandra Bullock, Cameron Diaz and Kate Hudson.
  • Defended Merv Griffin Entertainment, Inc. against breach of implied-in-fact contract claim over television game show Merv Griffin’s Crosswords.
  • Defended Kevin Costner and related producers against claim for producer credit on motion picture Open Range.
  • Defended publisher of Santa Barbara Independent in copyright infringement action filed by publisher of The Santa Barbara News-Press.
  • Obtained summary judgment for Twentieth Century Fox on copyright infringement claim against motion picture Titanic.
  • Obtained summary judgment for CBS and writers and producers on copyright infringement claim against television movie of the week.  Weygand v. CBS, Inc., 43 U.S.P.Q.2d 1120 (C.D. Cal. 1997)
  • Obtained summary judgment for producers on copyright infringement claim against USA Network police drama Pacific Blue.
  • Defended numerous publishers in various actions for defamation and/or invasion of privacy filed by Donna Summer, Rodney Dangerfield, Ed McMahon, Peter Criss, Cher, Anna Nicole Smith, and others.
  • Obtained terminating sanctions against plaintiff in defamation action against publisher of Premiere magazine.
  • Defended record company in dispute with rap singer over sound recording catalogue, resulting in multi-million dollar judgment against plaintiff.
  • Defended Chino Unified School District against claims by former principal for defamation and invasion of privacy.

Other Reported Decisions

Films of Distinction v. Allegro Film Productions, Inc.,
12 F.Supp.2d 1068 (C.D. Cal. 1998)

Cochran v. NYP Holdings, Inc.,
58 F.Supp.2d 1113 (C.D. Cal. 1998)

Los Angeles News Service v. Conus Communications Company LP,
969 F.Supp. 579 (C.D. Cal. 1997)

Fodor v. Berglas, 23 Med. L. Rptr. 1498 (C.D. Cal. 1994)

Dangerfield v. Star Editorial, Inc., 817 F.Supp. 833 (C.D. Cal. 1993)


  • California Appellate Court Affirms Summary Judgment Dismissing Implied Contract Claim Against Rounders Motion Picture, MLRC MediaLawLetter, September, 2007
  • California Appellate Court Rejects Claim For Publication of Old Crime Information, MLRC MediaLawLetter, March, 2003

Professional Activity:

  • Beverly Hills Bar Association, Member
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association, Member
  • California State Bar Association, Member
  • Los Angeles Copyright Society, Member
  • Media Law Resource Center, Member

Selected Recognition:

  • Selected as a Southern California Super Lawyer, 2014-2019