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Facebook Taps Kirkland & Ellis to Battle Trump Free Speech Suit

Sept. 3, 2021, 2:44 PM

Facebook Inc. is tapping a team of Kirkland & Ellis and White & Case attorneys to represent it and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in former President Donald Trump’s free speech lawsuit.

Kirkland & Ellis litigation and trial lawyers Craig Primis, K. Winn Allen, Kate Epstein, and Ronald Anguas will appear for Facebook and Zuckerberg, based on a motion filed Thursday. White & Case local counsel Maria Josefa Beguiristain and William Dylan Fay filed the motion in the Southern District Court of Florida.

Primis, Allen, and Anguas are partners with experience ranging from Constitutional law to class action suits, and Epstein is a firm associate. Other than Anguas, the Washington-based lawyers have all represented Facebook in the past, their firm profiles show.

Menlo Park, Calif.-based Facebook is the last of three tech giants to name their lawyers for the class action lawsuits filed by Trump’s lead lawyer John P. Coale that allege the companies violated Trump’s and others’ First Amendment rights.

The lawsuits have been called “frivolous” by legal scholars because the Constitution does not govern private entities like Facebook.

The Kirkland & Ellis and White & Case lawyers, Zuckerberg, and Facebook did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Trump also sued Twitter Inc. and Google Inc.-owned YouTube and their executives. Earlier this week, Twitter named a trio of WilmerHale partners to represent the company, and Google hired a team from Wilson Sonsini to defend it and CEO Sundar Pichai.

Unlike many of the lawyers set to appear for Facebook, Twitter, and Google, Trump’s legal team notably lacks experience in Constitutional law. Coale is known as a personal injury lawyer who has taken on major industries like tobacco and coal, and other lead lawyers on the case include John Q. Kelly, a litigator who sued O.J. Simpson on behalf of the estate of Nicole Brown Simpson, and former state legislator Carlos Trujillo.

Kirkland & Ellis has previously represented Facebook in just under 9% of its lawsuits since 2007, according to Bloomberg Law data. Facebook is most often represented by Cooley LLP, which has appeared in 23.5% of the company’s cases.

The case is Trump et al v. Facebook, Inc et al, S.D. Fla., 1:21-cv-22440-KMW.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ruiqi Chen in Washington, D.C. at rchen@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com;
John Hughes in Washington at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com