Celeste is a founding partner in LSKS and has represented journalists for three decades, concentrating her practice in defamation, privacy and related media litigation and counseling for daily newspapers, magazines, and broadcasters, as well as book and newsletter publishers.
Celeste has served as newsroom counsel to a number of daily newspapers and other media entities, providing guidance to editors and reporters at each step of the newsgathering process, from prepublication review, to gaining access to records, to ensuring the protection of confidential sources and other privileged materials. In addition, she has participated in the defense of significant defamation actions brought against a host of media entities.
Prior to founding LSKS, Celeste was a partner in the Washington, DC-based firm Ross, Dixon & Masback, L.L.P. and was of counsel with Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro in San Francisco.
Kendall v. Daily News Publishing Co., --- F.3d ---, 2013 WL 856433 (3d Cir. 2013). Celeste, along with Michael Sullivan and Michael Berry successfully represented The Virgin Islands Daily News in a defamation suit by a local judge. Following a two-week jury trial, the trial court entered judgment in the newspaper’s favor. The Virgin Islands Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit subsequently affirmed that decision.
Hatfill v. The New York Times Co., 532 F.3d 312 (4th Cir. 2008). Celeste and other LSKS attorneys successfully defended The New York Times in a defamation action brought by a prominent bio-defense expert named by the FBI as a “person of interest” in the investigation of the 2001 anthrax mailings. The scientist claimed the newspaper falsely implicated him in connection with the mailings. The trial court granted the newspaper’s motion for summary judgment and the Fourth Circuit affirmed, finding the plaintiff was a limited-purpose public figure who failed to establish actual malice.
OAO Alfa-Bank v. Center for Public Integrity, 387 F. Supp. 2d 20 (D.D.C. 2005). Celeste and her LSKS colleagues successfully defended the Center for Public Integrity in a libel suit brought by prominent Russian “oligarchs” arising from a report linking them to criminal activities during Russia’s turbulent transition to a capitalist economy.