Thomas B. Kelley - Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, LLP

Thomas B. Kelley

Listed in Best Lawyers since 1991

Mr. Kelley has defended the rights and privileges of journalists and news organizations for more than 35 years. He has litigated libel, invasion of privacy, access, and newsgathering claims in ten states, and regularly represents news organizations on appeals before state and federal courts. Mr. Kelley has represented media defendants in 10 jury trials, winning three defense verdicts, four directed verdicts for the defense, two judgments as a matter of law, and one hung jury.

Mr. Kelley’s regular clients include national and regional newspapers, television networks, television station owners, magazine publishers, cable news networks, and internet content providers. He has represented national media in attempts to protect the public’s right to access records and proceedings in an array of high-profile cases, including the Oklahoma City Bombing trials, Kobe Bryant rape prosecution, and JonBenét Ramsey murder investigation.

Before joining LSKS, Mr. Kelley was a partner in the Denver office of Faegre & Benson, where he chaired the firm’s media practice.

Amherst CollegeBA 1969University of DenverJ.D. 1972
Colorado Bar Association ABA Forum on Communications LawMedia Law Resource Center, Defense Counsel SectionColorado Freedom of Information CoalitionColorado Supreme Court Committee on Pattern Civil Jury InstructionsLitigation Counsel of AmericaSedona Conference Working Group on Protective Orders, Confidentiality and Public Access

Case History

Spacecon Specialty Contractors, LLP v. Bensinger, 713 F.3d 1028 (10th Cir. 2013) — Mr. Kelley successfully defended a filmmaker on appeal after the plaintiff, a drywall contractor, challenged the district court’s award of summary judgment in a libel action arising from a documentary on the employment of migrant laborers. The court held that the film involved a matter of public concern and that the plaintiff had not offered sufficient proof of actual malice as required under Colorado law.
Brokers’ Choice v. NBC Universal, Inc., 138 F. Supp. 3d 1191 (D. Colo. 2015) — Mr. Kelley prevailed on a motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ defamation claim on the ground of substantial truth.
Williams v. The MLB Network, Inc. (N.J. Super. 2016) — Mr. Kelley defended Gawker Media, LLC in a defamation action by former Major League Baseball pitcher Mitch Williams and prevailed on a motion for summary judgment on grounds of failure to show actual malice.
Delevin v. Holteen (D. Ariz. 2015) — Mr. Kelley successfully defended The Durango Herald and its former arts and entertainment editor arising from an email the editor sent to the publicist of a religious-oriented musical group. The court held that the email did not constitute an intentional infliction of emotional distress, nor did it give rise to the other claims the musical group members had pleaded under state law.
Diversified Management, Inc. v. Denver Post, Inc., 653 P.2d 1103 (Colo. 1982) — Mr. Kelley represented the newspaper in this seminal Colorado court case, which established the rule that the actual malice standard applies to all libel actions arising in the state that involve matters of public concern.
Pring v. Penthouse International, Inc., 695 F.2d 438 (10th Cir. 1982) — Mr. Kelley successfully represented the defendants in this appeal, which reversed a $14.5 million jury verdict and recognized First Amendment protection for satire.

Office Location

1888 Sherman Street, Suite 370
Denver, CO 80203
United States


Lawyer of the Year Awards

2015 Lawyer of the Year in First Amendment Law of the Denver Metro Area2012 Lawyer of the Year in Litigation - First Amendment of the Denver Metro Area2011 Lawyer of the Year in First Amendment Law of the Denver Metro Area
Thomas B. Kelley has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2015!Thomas B. Kelley has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2012!Thomas B. Kelley has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2011!

Practice Areas

First Amendment Law
Litigation - First Amendment
Media Law