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Paul Alan Levy

Attorney, Public Citizen Litigation Group
1600 20th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
(202) 588-1000 | E-mail: plevy @ citizen.org

Paul Alan Levy is an attorney with the Public Citizen Litigation Group, a public interest law firm that is a division of the consumer advocacy organization Public Citizen. Among the issues on which the group litigates are federal health and safety regulation, consumer litigation, open government, union democracy, separation of powers, and the First Amendment. PCLG litigates cases at all levels of the federal and state judiciaries and have a substantial practice before federal regulatory agencies.

After working as a law clerk to Honorable Wade H. McCree, Jr. (United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit) and Special Assistant to Solicitor General McCree, Paul joined the Litigation Group in December 1977 to represent workers in rank-and-file labor law cases, largely representing dissident union members in cases involving union governance. He has been there ever since, with the exception of a one-year sabbatical when he taught at Cardozo Law School. Over the years, he also developed subspecialties in some arcane issues of federal procedure such as removal jurisdiction, and the representation of "lawyers in trouble" from sanctions, contempt findings and the like; he also pioneered Public Citizen's work on federal preemption of state law claims.

He has argued scores of cases in United States Court of Appeals (three en banc). Moreover, he has argued four cases in Supreme Court of the United States, as well as writing briefs for parties in seven other cases. One odd aspect of his Supreme Court practice is that each of these eleven cases have been decided 9-0 – win or lose.

Paul has specialized more recently in free speech issues arising on the Internet. He has litigated cases in state and federal courts throughout the country about the identification of anonymous Internet speakers. His amicus curiae brief in Dendrite v Doe, whose approach was adopted by New Jersey’s Superior Court Appellate Division, has become the model for other cases. His Internet practice also includes the defense of trademark and copyright claims brought as a means of suppressing critical web sites. His cases in this area, such as Bosley Medical v. Kremer and Lamparello v. Falwell, have established the right to create internet “gripe” sites that include the trademark names of companies in their domain names and meta tags. In arguing against the issuance of prior restraints in Bank Julius Baer v. Wikileaks, he had the key insight that the case had been filed without subject matter jurisdiction. For the past two years, Paul has chaired the subcommittee on domain name litigation of the American Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Section.

Supreme Court Cases:


Lead author on briefs and argued:

Sims v. CIA (Freedom of Information Act)

West v. Conrail (statute of limitations in DFR case)

Lingle v. Norge (preemption of retaliatory discharge claims)

Masters, Mates & Pilots v. Brown (right to mailing lists in union election)


Lead or sole author of party's briefs, argued by other counsel:

DelCostello v. Teamsters (reply brief only: statute of limitations in DFR case)

Sheet Metal Workers v. Lynn (removal of elected union officer)

Wooddell v. IBEW (right to jury trial in LMRDA case; right to sue under union constitution)

North Star Steel v. Thomas (statute of limitations in WARN case)

Caterpillar v. Lewis (procedures for appealing removal decisions)

O'Connor v. Consolidated Coin Caterers Corp. (ADEA suit where rival hire is over 40)

Rivet v. Regions Bank (reply brief only: removability based on defense of res judicata)

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