Amy B. Ginensky
Amy B. Ginensky is a senior partner in Pepper Hamilton LLP’s Philadelphia office, chair of the firm’s Commercial Litigation Practice Group and the leader of its media and communications practice. She is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Ms. Ginensky has an active media and communications practice that focuses on First Amendment, defamation and other media-related areas. In addition, she handles complex commercial litigation matters.
In her First Amendment practice, Ms. Ginensky represents newspapers, radio and television broadcasters. She defends the rights of reporters and editors in libel and privacy cases, advises them in prepublication matters, defends them against subpoenas to testify and represents them in public access and other cases. She has handled hundreds of First Amendment matters, including several jury trials representing the media, and has been involved in almost all major media cases in the Philadelphia area in the last 15 years.
A sample of reported matters representative of Ms. Ginensky’s practice include:
- Henderson v. Lancaster Newspapers, Inc., No. 2007-12003, 2011 Pa. Dist. & Cnty. Dec. LEXIS 542 (Pa. Com. Pl. Sept. 19, 2011), aff’d without opinion, 60 A.3d 863 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2012). A former county commissioner claimed that 19 articles and editorials published in three Lancaster, Pa. newspapers defamed her and invaded her privacy. The trial court granted summary judgment on actual malice and substantial truth grounds as to all of Henderson’s claims, and the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed, even though corrections or clarifications had been published for five of the articles.
- Sprague v. Porter, 2013 Phila. Ct. Com. Pl. LEXIS 368 (Pa. Com. Pl. Nov. 1, 2013). Ms. Ginensky represented a Philadelphia Daily News columnist in a suit filed by a prominent lawyer for defamation and invasion of privacy after publication of a column that he alleged falsely called him a “liar.” The trial court granted summary judgment on five separate grounds, including protected opinion and lack of material falsity.
- Tucker v. Philadelphia Daily News, 848 A.2d 113 (Pa. 2004). The Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2004, after Ms. Ginensky’s argument, reversed the Superior Court and affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of the complaint on preliminary objections on the grounds of actual malice. This decision in favor of the newspaper set a high bar for any actual malice case to proceed.
- Lewis v. Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc., 833 A.2d 185 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2003), appeal denied, 844 A.2d 553 (Pa. 2004). Obtained summary judgment in this case brought by a state court judge with respect to a column in which she claimed a mistake was deliberately made. The decision was affirmed by the Superior Court, and a petition for allowance of appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was denied.
- Blackwell v. Eskin, et al., 80 Pa. D. & C. 4th 284 (C.P. Philadelphia, 2006), aff’d, 916 A.2d 1123 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2007). In January 2007, the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Howard Eskin, sportscaster, and NBC, rejecting the libel claim brought by a former assistant coach and past star of the Temple University basketball team. The Superior Court’s opinion is important in holding that even if the defendants had failed to investigate, either by obtaining independent confirmation of a single source’s story or consulting other more reliable sources, which was what the plaintiff argued and defendants denied, that finding would be insufficient to demonstrate actual malice.
- Savitt v. Fraternal Order of Police, et al., No. 00567, 2005 WL 5006127 (C.P. Philadelphia, Oct 13, 2005) (Trial Order), aff’d, 915 A.2d 159 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2006). In November 2006, a member of the Philadelphia Police Advisory Commission’s libel suit ended when the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants. The trial court had originally denied summary judgment, but Ms. Ginensky convinced the court to reconsider its decision. The plaintiff had sought to hold the newspaper responsible for reporting a critical statement by the head of the Fraternal Order of Police.
- Norton v. Glenn, et al., 860 A.2d 48 (Pa. 2004). Represented West Chester’s Daily Local News and its reporter and editors in this case where the Mayor and President of Parkesburg, Pa., City Council claimed that the defendants libeled them when reporting outlandish charges by another council member, which the reporter had admitted during a first trial he thought were untrue. The first trial in favor of defendants had been reversed on the grounds that the Pennsylvania appellate courts found no neutral reportage privilege. Ms. Ginensky retried the case to a jury until it was satisfactorily resolved prior to closing.
- Merriweather v. Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc., 61 Pa. D. & C.4th 423 (C.P. Philadelphia, 2002), aff’d, 835 A.2d 842 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2003), appeal denied, 842 A.2d 407 (Pa. 2004). Representation led to a JNOV being granted from a jury verdict in favor of a popular Philadelphia judge. This decision was affirmed by Pennsylvania Superior Court and the 20 year-old case was finally concluded with the denial in 2004 of a petition for allowance of appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
- Rush v. Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc., 732 A.2d 648 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1999). In this appeal from a grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants, the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the trial court’s decision and established the leading law on right to privacy claims in Pennsylvania.
- Honorable Justice James McDermott v. Biddle, 674 A.2d 665 (Pa. 1995). Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice James McDermott sued The Philadelphia Inquirer in 1983 contending that a series, which was highly critical of practices by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, had defamed him. Another law firm tried the case in 1990, where there was a $6 million verdict against the defendants. After a number of appeals and motions before the trial court, Ms. Ginensky and her team convinced the trial court to dismiss all but one claim. In 2006, the parties agreed to dismiss the cases, without any payment and with each side to bear its own costs.
- State of New Jersey v. Neulander, 801 A.2d 255 (N.J. 2002), cert. denied sub nom., Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. v. New Jersey, 537 U.S. 1192 (2003). Successfully represented a reporter in a contempt proceeding relating to the trial of Rabbi Neulander in New Jersey for the murder of his wife. The reporter was charged with violating a court order prohibiting contacting jurors after a mistrial. At trial, the client was found guilty (though given only a fine); the appellate court reversed, lifting the finding of contempt.
- Publicker v. Cohen, 733 F.2d 1059 (3d Cir. 1984). Successfully represented newspaper in an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, where the court issued a precedent-setting decision regarding access to civil proceedings, recognizing First Amendment and common law concerns.
Ms. Ginensky is a lecturer on media and civil procedure issues for, among others, the American Bar Association, the Media Law Resource Center, the Philadelphia Bar Education Center, the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, the National Association of Black-Owned Broadcasters, the Federal Bench Bar, and Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. She also has taught defamation law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and has published widely in the field. In addition, Ms. Ginensky has directed a variety of in-house litigation and deposition training programs.
She is a graduate of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy and Community Leadership Seminars.
Ms. Ginensky is past president of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation, and she served as co-chair of the Bar Foundation’s Andrew Hamilton Galas in 2006 and 2007. She is the current chair of its 50th Anniversary Committee and will co-chair its 50th Annual Benefit in 2014. Ms. Ginensky also co-chaired the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Law Firm Pro Bono Committee for many years, and she is a past president of the Travelers Aid Society.
Before joining Pepper in 2007, Ms. Ginensky was a partner with Dechert LLP, where she was vice chair of that firm’s litigation department, a former member of that firm’s policy committee and a past chair of the firm’s pro bono practice. She is listed in The Best Lawyers in America and was named the Philadelphia Best Lawyers Litigation – First Amendment Lawyer of the Year for 2013. Ms. Ginensky is listed in Benchmark Litigation as a local litigation star in Pennsylvania and was selected for inclusion in Benchmark: Top 250 Women in Litigation in 2012 and 2013. She also is listed in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business and was selected for inclusion on the 2013 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list.
A.B. 1974, magna cum laude, Mount Holyoke College
J.D. 1977, University of Virginia School of Law; member, University of Virginia Law Review; Order of the Coif; Phi Beta Kappa
1977-1979 Law Clerk to Hon. Clarence C. Newcomer, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)
Admitted to practice in Pennsylvania