Jeffrey J. Pyle is a trial lawyer who represents clients in a wide variety of cases, including First Amendment litigation, business disputes, multi-million dollar contract suits, libel claims, criminal cases, and civil rights matters. Jeff has argued appeals in both state and federal courts, including the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the Massachusetts Appeals Court and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
As part of his practice, Jeff represents newspapers, magazines, and investigative journalism organizations in cases involving alleged defamation, access to government documents, subpoenas to identify sources, and sealed court records. He also provides prepublication review services to media companies, advising them on how to avoid liability in reporting the news.
In 2016, Jeff argued an important appeal to the First Circuit on behalf of an online publisher, obtaining dismissal of civil claims pursuant to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. In 2015, Jeff and Prince Lobel partner Joseph D. Steinfield successfully represented the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority at the First Circuit in challenge to the MBTA’s rejection of certain advertisements. In 2012, Jeff obtained a favorable ruling from the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts on behalf of a business seeking access to sealed affidavits that had been filed in support of a search warrant. In 2007, he and Joe Steinfield tried a lengthy First Amendment case on behalf of a businessman against officials of the Puerto Rico Department of Insurance, securing a $5 million verdict that was upheld by the First Circuit.
In 2016, Jeff and Prince Lobel partner Hugh Gorman, III, were recognized as Lawyers of the Year by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly for their representation of Federal Concrete, a woman-owned concrete company. On Federal’s behalf, Jeff and Hugh brought a constitutional and statutory challenge to the Commonwealth’s practice of permitting non-disadvantaged individuals to participate in a construction set-aside program for women- and minority-owned firms. As a result of a preliminary injunction they obtained, disadvantaged construction companies were given new opportunities to compete for government contracts.
Jeff frequently represents journalists seeking access to public records and court filings. Through Prince Lobel’s legal hotline for the New England Newspaper and Press Association, Jeff helps reporters negotiate for access and appeal from the denial of requests under the state’s public records law. Jeff has also successfully represented the press, including the New York Times and the Boston Globe, in proceedings to unseal court documents.
Jeff has handled many cases under the Massachusetts Anti-SLAPP law, which protects citizens and writers against lawsuits based on their exercise of the right to petition the government. In 2012, working as a cooperating attorney with the ACLU of Massachusetts, he secured dismissal of a defamation claim brought by the owner of a racetrack against a critic of expanded casino gaming, in the first known application of the Massachusetts Anti-SLAPP law to a social media post.
Jeff frequently teaches and writes about issues involving First Amendment rights and media law. In 1994, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts awarded Jeff the David Burres Civil Liberties Award. Jeff is also a member of the Board of Editors of the Boston Bar Journal.
Jeff graduated magna cum laude from Boston College Law School, where he worked as solicitations editor for the Boston College Law Review. He then served as a law clerk for the Honorable Michael A. Ponsor in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. He joined Hill & Barlow as an attorney in 2001, and in 2003 moved with several other attorneys to Prince Lobel.