Weaponizing Defamation Law to Silence #MeToo Claims

Thursday, April 28, 2022

9 am to 12:30 pm (PDT)

$125 Registration

$100 for Partner Members

Register here:  https://na.eventscloud.com/ereg/index.php?eventid=670088&

The Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality and Anti-Discrimination Law is proud to present a virtual webinar on Weaponizing Defamation Law to Silence #MeToo Claims, to be held Thursday, April 28, 2022 9am to 12:30pm (PDT). This dynamic and groundbreaking webinar will include renowned practitioners who will discuss how California, national and international defamation law has been used to intimidate and silence #MeToo claims, as well as present strategies to defend against defamation claims.  CA Lawyers can receive 3 hours of CLE credit including Elimination of Bias credit.



8:45 am (PDT)  Zoom Room Opens for Coffee Talk


9:00 am – 10:05 am  Opening Plenary

A Discussion: As More Women Say ‘Me Too,’ Claims of Defamation Have Been Asserted by the Accused

  • Hilary Hammell, Law Offices of Hilary Hammell
  • Elizabeth Tang, National Women’s Law Center
  • Paul D. Fogel, Senior Counsel, Reed Smith
  • Dr. Sarah Harsey, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Moderator/Contributor: Madison Pauly, Mother Jones


10:05 am -10:15 am  Break


10:15 am -11:15 am Workshops 

What’s at Stake:  A Conversation with Our International Partners about Weaponized Defamation Laws 

  • Professor Karen O’Connell, University of Technology Sydney, Australia
  • Professor Marie Mercat-Bruns, Sciences Po, France   
  • Moderator/Contributor: Jorie Dugan, Legal Advisor, Equality Now


Litigation Skills: Defamation Claims & Anti-SLAPP Motions

  • Jennifer Kramer, Managing Partner, Hennig Kramer Ruiz & Singh, LLP
  • Mark Goldowitz, Founder & Director, California Anti-SLAPP Project


11:15 am -11:30 am Break


11:30 am – 12:30 pm Closing Keynote Panel

Lessons from Warriors Who Stand With MeToo Victims

  • Debra Katz, Founding Partner of Katz, Marshall & Banks 
  • Carrie Goldberg,  Founder of C.A. Goldberg, PLLC  
  • Moderator: Beth W. Mora, Mora Employment Law


Thank you to our partners!

Impact Fund

ABA Civil Rights and Social Justice Section


Equality Now

California Lawyers Association, Labor & Employment Law Section

California Employment Lawyers Association

Women Lawyers of Marin

Women Lawyers of San Diego

Contra Costa County Bar Association/Women Lawyers of Contra Costa County

Women Lawyers on Guard Network, Inc.

Equal Rights Advocates

Speakers List

  • Portrait of Elizabeth Tang

    Elizabeth Tang

    • Senior Counsel, National Women’s Law Center

    Elizabeth Tang (she/her) is an education civil rights attorney at the National Women’s Law Center, where she focuses on ending sexual harassment in schools through know-your-rights education for students and families; policy advocacy at the federal, state, and school district levels; and litigation on behalf of student survivors against their schools and against the federal government. Before joining NWLC, she interned at the American Civil Liberties Union and the U.S. Senate and worked at Apne Aap Women’s Collective in Mumbai, India. Elizabeth received her JD/MBA from the University of Pennsylvania and her B.A. from Harvard College.

  • Portrait of Debra Katz

    Debra S. Katz

    • Founding partner of Katz, Marshall & Banks, LLP

    Debra Katz is a founding partner of Katz, Marshall & Banks, LLP, where she concentrates her practice on employment discrimination, sexual harassment, whistleblower, and Title IX matters. She has developed extensive litigation experience in federal and local courts and has achieved significant courtroom successes in a number of high-profile cases.
    Throughout her legal career, Ms. Katz has successfully represented hundreds of whistleblowers in the nuclear, financial, pharmaceutical and medical-device industries. Currently she represents Dr. Rick Bright, the former director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, who was removed from his position after raising concerns over the administration’s inadequate preparation for the Coronavirus pandemic, and the subsequent interference into vaccine and treatment approval processes. She also regularly handles cases involving fraud in government contracts, including most recently at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.
    For her work representing victims of sexual assault and harassment, Ms. Katz has been called “The feared attorney of the #MeToo moment” by the Washington Post, and a “Leading #MeToo Lawyer” by Washingtonian magazine. Ms. Katz represented Dr. Christine Blasey Ford in proceedings before the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 2018, where Dr. Ford testified that then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in the early 1980s when they were teenagers.
    Additionally, Ms. Katz has represented Irwin Reiter, a longtime Weinstein Company executive who served as a critical whistleblower in the Harvey Weinstein scandal, and Dawn Dunning, a former aspiring actress who testified against Weinstein at his criminal trial in February, 2020.
    In recognition of Ms. Katz’s work at the forefront of whistleblower and employment law, she has been recognized as “Civil Rights Lawyer of the Year” for Washington, D.C. by The Best Lawyers© In America for 2018, and as a “Titan of the Plaintiffs Bar” by Law360. In 2019, Washingtonian Magazine recognized Ms. Katz as one of “Washington’s 150 Most Powerful Women,” a biennial list honoring women in the D.C. area who have achieved great success, and the Victim Rights Law Center honored Ms. Katz at its Shining Star Gala with the 2019 Leadership Award.
    Ms. Katz serves as Vice Chair on the Board of Directors of the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), a nonpartisan independent government watchdog, and is a contributing writer for Ms. Magazine, where she writes about legal issues of importance to women.

  • Portrait of Carrie Goldberg

    Carrie Goldberg

    • Founder of C. A. Goldberg, PLLC Victims’ Rights law firm

    Carrie Goldberg is a victims’ rights attorney who has built a team that provides cutting edge legal help for clients under attack by pervs, assholes, psychos, and trolls. Her book Nobody’s Victim was published in August 2019.
    Carrie is admitted to practice law in New York State, 1st Appellate Department and the Eastern and Southern New York Districts of United States District Court. She is also admitted to The Supreme Court of the United States, US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Eastern District of New York, Southern District of New York and has been admitted pro hac vice in California, Florida, and Massachusetts. She is also a member of the bar in New York State.

  • Portrait of Hilary Hammell

    Hilary Hammell

    • Law Offices of Hilary Hammel

    Hilary Hammell is a feminist lawyer who is proud to represent women and other vulnerable clients whose rights have been violated by their employers or other powerful actors. She was a William H Gates scholar at the University of Washington Law School, from which she graduated in 2012. After serving as a law clerk to Judge Stephanie Seymour on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, she has practiced public-interest law in California ever since. From 2018 to 2022 she was an associate attorney at the all-women employment law firm of Levy Vinick Burrell Hyams LLP, and has just launched her own practice.

  • Portrait of Beth W Mora

    Beth W. Mora

    • Mora Employment Law

    Beth W. Mora of Mora Employment Law is dedicated to representing victimized employees. She is a passionate and accomplished advocate for those facing a wide range of employment law issues. Beth’s commitment to social justice and volunteerism is deeply rooted in her personal values. Due to her advocacy, Beth was recently named top 50 women and top 100 lawyers in Northern California Super Lawyers 2022, as well as earned several recognitions from California Employment Lawyers Association in 2021. Beth is often invited to speak, has published numerous articles as well as has been quoted in legal journals, including Bloomberg Law, Daily Journal, and Law 360 on issues impacting employees and the legal community. From the courthouse to the boardroom, Beth is a committed advocate for her clients and community. More information concerning Beth can be found at her website www.moraemploymentlaw.com.

  • Portrait of Jennifer Kramer

    Jennifer Kramer

    • Managing partner at Hennig Kramer Ruiz & Singh, LLP

    Jennifer Kramer is a managing partner at Hennig Kramer Ruiz & Singh, LLP. Her practice focuses on complex employment litigation. She has served as lead counsel on class and multiple plaintiff actions, as well as regularly representing individual workers.

    Jen is a member of the National Employment Lawyers Association, California Employment Lawyers Association (serving as the co-chair of the CELA Wage & Hour Committee from 2017-2019 and as a member of the Executive Board from 2019 to the present), Los Angeles County Bar Association, Legal Eagles for Truth Justice and the American Way, Consumer Attorney Association of Los Angeles, and the National Lawyers Guild. Most recently, she has served as an advocate for the #PUH (Pay Up Hollywood) movement.
    When she is not advocating on behalf of California’s employees, Jen will be found in her garden, prized for its collection of California native plants.

  • Portrait of Sarah Harsey

    Sarah Harsey

    • PhD

    Sarah Harsey, PhD, is a sexual violence researcher. In 2021, she completed her doctorate in social psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Institutional Courage and a research associate at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
    As a master’s student at the University of Oregon, she worked with Dr. Jennifer Freyd to produce the first empirical work on DARVO (Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender), a defensive strategy used by individuals when they are held accountable for abusive or antisocial behavior. Their research on DARVO has found that this tactic is a powerful perpetrator tool used to undermine trust in victims’ narratives, particularly in the context of sexual violence. Sarah continues to conduct DARVO research with Dr. Freyd and other collaborators at the Center for Institutional Courage.

  • Portrait of Marie Mercat-Bruns

    Marie Mercat-Bruns

    • Affiliated Professor, Sciences Po Law School; tenured Associate Law Professor, Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM)

    Marie Mercat-Bruns is an Affiliated Professor at Sciences Po Law School and a tenured Associate Law Professor in Employment and Comparative Law at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM) where she co-heads both the Master in Business and Employment Law and the Gender and Discrimination Program at the Research Institute LISE CNRS. She is also a member of the steering committee of Presage (Sciences Po/OFCE Research and Academic Program on Gender Thinking). In 2019, she was appointed Expert for France on Gender Equality for the EU Commission and in 2021, was asked to draft a scanning report on “Racism and Discrimination in the world” for UNESCO. Her most recent book is “New methods of detecting and preventing discrimination and access to the law: group action and systemic discrimination; algorithms and biases; social networks and sexual harassment, Comparative Legislation Society, 2020. Recent articles include: Intersectional Discrimination: an emerging concept in French employment law? Bulletin Joly Travail 2021, p. 52; Indirect discrimination in Employment in France : a relative success ? in Havelkova, Möschel (Ed), Antidiscrimination Law in Civil Law Jurisdictions OUP 2019, p. 244; She is a founding member of BCCE.

  • Portrait of Dr Karen O'Connell

    Dr Karen O'Connell

    • Associate Professor of Law, University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

    Dr Karen O’Connell is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). She is an expert in discrimination law, particularly sex and disability discrimination, sexual harassment, and biotechnologies of the body, neuroscience and genetics. With Professor Isabel Karpin (UTS), she works on “bioinequalities”, at the intersection of equality laws and the biosciences. Prior to joining UTS, Dr. O’Connell worked in human rights law and policy at the Australian Human Rights Commission, focussing on national inquires and major reports into pregnancy discrimination, immigration detention, paid maternity leave, family responsibilities discrimination and sexual harassment. Dr O’Connell is on the advisory board of BCCE and is a member of the Australian National Women’s Safety Alliance, advising the federal government on preventing gendered violence. In 2021 she was awarded ‘Legal Academic of the Year’ by the NSW Women Lawyers’ Association for her work on women’s rights.

  • Portrait of Paul Fogel

    Paul Fogel

    • Senior Counsel, Reed Smith’s Appellate Group

    Paul Fogel is a Senior Counsel in Reed Smith’s Appellate Group and based in San Francisco. He was a partner in the firm from 2003 to 2009 and again from 2011 to 2021. Paul served as a judge on the Alameda County Superior Court from 2009 to 2011. At Reed Smith, Paul’s practice focuses on appeals, writs, post-trial motions, and law and motion matters in a broad range of civil law areas. He has handled more than 600 appellate matters (which have produced more than 60 published opinions), including matters in the California Supreme Court, many federal Circuit Courts of Appeals, the California Court of Appeal, and several other state appellate courts. He has also handled and assisted trial counsel in law and motion and posttrial motion matters.

    Paul was regularly named to the Northern California “Top 100 Attorneys” list by Northern California Super Lawyers Magazine, to the Northern California Super Lawyers list in appellate law, and has been included in The Best Lawyers in America©, Chambers USA, and Legal 500; he has also been named a “BTI Client All Star” following independent interviews with clients and legal decisionmakers. He was elected to the American Law Institute in 2009, and held an appointment as Adjunct Lecturer in Appellate Advocacy at the University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall) School of Law from 2010 to 2017. He has been a member of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers since 1990 (he served as President in 2006-07) and a Fellow in the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers since 2000. He clerked for California Supreme Court Chief Justice Rose E. Bird from 1983 to 1987.

  • Portrait of Madison Pauley

    Madison Pauly

    • Reporter at Mother Jones

    Madison Pauly is a reporter at Mother Jones magazine, where she covers systems of public safety and accountability. She has been writing about sexual violence and harassment for ten years. A finalist for a 2020 Dart Award for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma, her original reporting has been published or covered by BuzzFeed News, STAT, Longform, Slate, the Cut, the Daily Beast, and Prison Legal News.
    Madison’s stories have uncovered a sexual harassment scandal at the University of Rochester, investigated how a repeat rapist was allowed to slip through the cracks of the Minnesota justice system, and revealed the influence of private companies in policing and imprisonment. In her 2020 feature, “She Said, He Sued,” she investigated the trend of accused abusers filing defamation lawsuits against people who spoke out during the MeToo movement.

  • Portrait of Marjorie Dugan

    Marjorie (Jorie) Dugan

    • Global legal advisor, Equality Now

    Jorie Dugan is a global legal advisor at Equality Now, focusing on campaigns and advocacy to end sexual violence, sexual exploitation, and harmful practices and achieve legal equality. Jorie connects with individuals, groups, and organizations doing similar work with the aim of bringing all voices to the table, taking an intersectional, feminist, and anti-racist approach, and amplifying survivor voices. Last year, Jorie was one of the lead drafters of Equality Now’s amicus brief to the Supreme Court of the Republic of Georgia in a defamation lawsuit arguing that upholding survivors’ right to freedom of expression is fundamental to protecting the rights of women, especially the right to live free from violence, and is essential for the prevention of sexual violence. Based on her work on the Georgia case, Jorie took a lead in presenting Equality Now’s recommendations to the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and authored a Ms. Magazine op-ed to bring further awareness to this issue.

  • Portrait of Mark Goldowitz

    Mark Goldowitz

    • Founder and Director of California Anti-SLAPP Project

    Mark Goldowitz is the founder and Director of the California Anti-SLAPP Project (CASP), which led the coalition that won enactment of the California anti-SLAPP law, Code of Civil Procedure § 425.16, in 1992, as well as subsequent strengthening amendments. Goldowitz, CASP, and their clients have prevailed in more than 100 anti-SLAPP motions, including ten published opinions, including two by the California Supreme Court (Briggs v. Eden Council for Hope & Opportunity and Barrett v. Rosenthal).
    CASP was co-counsel (with Jean Hyams and Hilary Hammell as lead) for Pam Lopez in her successful appeal of the denial of her #MeToo anti-SLAPP motion in Dababneh v. Lopez, Sacramento Superior Court. CASP also represents (with Jenifer Kramer as lead counsel) Kerry Kohler in Beall v. Kohler, a SLAPP by a defrocked chiropractor against a woman who blew the whistle on his sexual abuse of her and others.