Hiscock & Barclay
Hiscock & Barclay

Karim A. Abdulla

Karim A. Abdulla


p: 716-566-1473

f: 716-846-1227

icon_email kabdulla@hblaw.com
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Buffalo Office

1100 M&T Center
3 Fountain Plaza
Buffalo, New York 14203

An experienced litigation attorney now in his second decade of practice, Karim focuses his efforts on Media and First Amendment law. A strong defender of both the media and individuals’ rights to free speech, Karim’s experience includes trial court and appellate level libel defense work on behalf of printed media, television and radio clients, counseling media clients on state and federal Freedom of Information laws, pre-publication review of newspaper articles, and pre-publication review of manuscripts for a major publishing house. A resident of the firm’s Buffalo Office, Karim has counseled media clients from Western New York to New York City and beyond.

Karim’s litigation and environmental practice experience includes the representation of major public utilities in complex environmental litigation, including CERCLA and Clean Air Act matters. He also has experience in public interest litigation involving significant questions of Indian and Administrative law, has litigated complex intellectual property matters on behalf of corporate clients, and has significant experience in briefing and arguing appellate matters.

Karim is an active member of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Team and a recipient of the firm’s Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award.

Representative Experience

  • Representation of a major media client and defense of multi-million dollar defamation claims brought against television station and its reporter. Following completion of extensive discovery, trial court (Supreme Court, Erie County) granted defendants' motion for summary judgment on the ground that the complained-of report was not made with the requisite degree of fault (i.e., no gross irresponsibility); decision affirmed by the Appellate Division, Fourth Department. 
  • Representation of major utility in environmental remediation (PCB clean-up) matter. Successfully moved for summary judgment following the close of discovery on the ground that plaintiff had not proven a sufficient nexus between our client and the contamination present at the site. 
  • Representation of a major newspaper and its reporter against multi-million dollar defamation claims. Following the close of discovery and on defendants motions, the trial court (Sup. Ct. Erie Co.) granted summary judgment in favor of the media defendants, holding, among other things, that the plaintiff failed to establish that the publication was made with the requisite degree of fault. 
  • Representation of a major newspaper and its reporter against multi-million dollar defamation claims. Following the close of discovery and on defendants' motions, the trial court (Sup. Ct. Erie Co.) held that: a) plaintiff was a limited purpose public figure that was required to show "actual malice" in the publication; and b) plaintiff had failed to do so. Summary judgment granted to the media defendants, and plaintiff's claims were dismissed in their entirety. 
  • Representation of major newspaper against claims of defamation arising out of a series of articles reporting on judicial and official proceedings. On motion of the media defendant following the completion of discovery, the trial court (Supreme Court, Erie County) granted summary judgment to the media defendant on the ground that the reports were privileged pursuant to Section 74 of New York's Civil Rights Law. 
  • Representation and defense of major utility against claims brought in state court (Supreme Court, Nassau Co.) under CERCLA and RCRA, as well as state law claims for trespass, nuisance and negligence. On a motion to dismiss filed on behalf of the utility, plaintiffs' federal claims were dismissed as being improperly brought in the wrong forum, and plaintiffs' state law claims were dismissed as untimely. 
  • Representation and defense of major newspaper against defamation claims brought by prominent local physician as a result of published article. Following discovery and on motion of the defendants, the trial court (Supreme Court, Erie Co.) granted summary judgment to the defendants on the ground that the media defendants did not act in a grossly irresponsible manner in publishing the complained of article. 
  • Prepublication libel review of non-fiction manuscripts for a major New York-based publishing house.

Practice Areas


  • Case Western Reserve University School of Law, J.D., 1999
  • McMaster University, B.A., 1994

Admitted To Practice

  • New York, 1999
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York

Memberships & Affiliations

  • New York State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Erie County Bar Association

Speaking & Publications

  • "Defamation Cases and the Communications Decency Act of 1996," WNYPA April General Membership Meeting, April 22, 2014
  • "New York Court of Appeals Grounds Air-Freight Libel Plaintiff," MLRC MediaLawLetter, July 2013
  • “What You Need to Know about Public Records and Open Meetings,” Lorman Education Service CLE Seminar, April 2007
  • “Rival Vanquished: New York Appellate Court Affirms Dismissal of Defamation Claim,” MediaLawLetter, March 2006
  • “Buffalo News Wins Summary Judgment: Strong Headline Makes for Strong Headline Law,” MediaLawLetter, October 2005
  • “Getting Information from Your Government: Opportunities and Obstacles under FOIA and FOIL,” Erie County Bar Association Noonday CLE Lecture Series, May 2005
  • “Issue Checklist for Motions to Dismiss and Summary Judgment in Defamation,” Media Law Resource Center Committee Report, August 2004
  • “Better Watchdog Workshop,” Investigative Reporters and Editors/Society of Professional Journalists Seminar, November 2004
  • “Notes and Practice Pointers Regarding New York Open Records and Open Meetings Laws,” Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc., November 2003

Prior Experience

  • Stenger & Finnerty, Senior Associate
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York, Volunteer Law Clerk
  • Elfvin Besser, Law Clerk