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KarimAbdulla

Special Counsel

"Whether working on cars or taking care of clients, I'm passionate about solving problems the right way: identifying issues, focusing on solutions, and getting results."

Overview

Biography

A litigation attorney with 20 years of legal experience, Karim primarily concentrates his practice on state and federal trial court and appellate-level libel defense on behalf of printed media, television, and radio clients. He routinely counsels media clients on state and federal Freedom of Information laws and pre-publication review of newspaper articles, and record-retention practices and policies. Karim manages litigation and, where appropriate, negotiates settlements and out-of-court resolutions.

Karim also represents major public utilities and business clients in complex environmental litigation, including CERCLA, Clean Air Act, and NYS Navigation Law matters. He additionally handles public-interest litigation involving significant questions of Indian and administrative law and has litigated complex intellectual-property matters on behalf of corporate clients. His experience in these areas includes briefing and arguing appellate matters.

In addition to his own practice, Karim is a member of the Buffalo office Diversity Leadership Team.

Bar Associations

  • Bar Association of Erie County
  • New York State Bar Association
Experience

Representative Experience

  • Represented a major media client against defamation claims brought against a television station and its reporter. The Erie County Supreme Court granted summary judgment, and the decision was affirmed by the Appellate Division, Fourth Department.
  • Represented a major utility in an environmental remediation (PCB clean-up) matter. Obtained summary judgment on the ground that the plaintiff had not proven a sufficient nexus between the client and the site contamination. The decision was affirmed by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
  • Represented a major newspaper and its reporter against defamation claims. Obtained summary judgment on the basis of a lack of actionable fault by the defendants. The decision was affirmed by a majority of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department and upheld by the Court of Appeals.
  • Represented a major newspaper and its reporter against defamation claims. The Erie County Supreme Court held that the plaintiff was a limited-purpose public figure who was required to show “actual malice” in the publication and had failed to do so. Summary judgment was granted to the media defendants, and the plaintiff’s claims were dismissed in their entirety.
  • Represented a major newspaper against claims of defamation arising out of a series of articles covering judicial and official proceedings. The Erie County Supreme Court granted summary judgment to the media defendant on the ground that the reports were privileged pursuant to Section 74 of New York’s Civil Rights Law.
  • Represented and defended a major utility against claims brought in Supreme Court under CERCLA and RCRA, as well as various state-law claims. The federal claims were dismissed as being improperly brought in the wrong forum, and the state-law claims were dismissed as untimely. The decision was upheld by the Appellate Division, Second Department.
  • Represented a major newspaper against defamation claims. The Erie County Supreme Court granted summary judgment to the defendants on the ground that the media defendants did not act in a grossly irresponsible manner in publishing the complained of article. The decision was upheld by the Appellate Division, Fourth Department.
  • Represented a television station and its reporters against defamation claims. The Onondaga County Supreme Court held that the plaintiff was a limited-purpose public figure who was required to show “actual malice” in the publication and had failed to do so. Summary judgment was granted to the media defendants, and the plaintiff’s claims were dismissed in their entirety.
  • Represented a major utility against negligence and breach of contract claims and obtained summary judgment in favor of the utility.
  • Defended area health care providers against negligence claims and negotiated favorable resolutions to the matters.
  • Completed a pre-publication libel review of nonfiction manuscripts for a NY-based publishing house.
  • Successfully represented pro-bono clients in tax- and immigration-related matters.

Prior Experience

  • Hiscock & Barclay, LLP, Associate
  • Stenger & Finnerty, Senior Associate
  • US District Court for the Western District of New York, Volunteer Law Clerk
  • Elfvin & Besser, Law Clerk

Selected Honors

  • New York State Bar Association, Empire State Counsel Honoree, 2014-2016
  • Barclay Damon LLP, Pro Bono Attorney of the Year, 2011
Knowledge

Selected Speaking Engagements

  • WNYPA April General Membership Meeting, "Defamation Cases and the Communications Decency Act of 1996"
  • Lorman Education Services CLE, “What You Need to Know About Public Records and Open Meetings”
  • Erie County Bar Association Noonday CLE, “Getting Information From Your Government: Opportunities and Obstacles Under FOIA and FOIL”
  • Investigative Reporters and Editors/Society of Professional Journalists Seminar, “Better Watchdog Workshop”
  • Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc., “Notes and Practice Pointers Regarding New York Open Records and Open Meetings Laws”

Selected Publications & Media

  • Media Law Resource Center MediaLawLetter, “NY Court of Appeals Grounds Air-Freight Libel Plaintiff”
  • Media Law Resource Center MediaLawLetter, “Rival Vanquished: NY Appellate Court Affirms Dismissal of Defamation Claim”
  • Media Law Resource Center MediaLawLetter, “Buffalo News Wins Summary Judgment: Strong Headline Makes for Strong Headline Law”

Featured Media

Alerts

Third Department Narrows Liability Under Labor Law § 240(1)

Alerts

Coke Ovens May Be Subject to Strict Products Liability

Alerts

Justice Center Prosecutorial Authority Restricted

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