Rian Dawson is a Partner at Honigman LLP where she focuses on media law litigation, supply chain litigation, and other complex commercial matters. Her experience includes litigating disputes in various state and federal courts, in Michigan and nationwide. Representing clients in all phases of litigation, Rian has significant experience drafting dispositive and nondispositive motions, as well as managing discovery issues. She also maintains an active pro bono practice. Rian achieved asylum for a political refugee from Cameroon in a removal proceeding before the EOIR Immigration Court, and has represented independent journalists and publications regarding access and First Amendment issues. 

As a current member of the firm’s workgroup on diversity and inclusion, Rian works on various diversity initiatives. She also formerly served the Firm as a member of the Summer Associate Committee and remains active in the Summer Associate Program as a mentor.

  • Represents local and national print and broadcast media companies in defamation, media access, and other litigation and counsels media clients regarding subpoena and access disputes
  • Represents OEMs, Tier 1, and Tier 2 suppliers in supply chain disputes
  • Represents companies in contract disputes and securities and corporate governance matters
  • Advises brokerage and investment advisor firms in recruitment matters 
  • Serves as a university-provided advisor in Title IX hearings at the University of Michigan



Representative Matters

Media Litigation

  • Achieved dismissal of defamation suit brought against a local newspaper and its reporter by a controversial former member of the Michigan House of Representatives, and achieved a five-figure sanctions award against the plaintiff and plaintiff’s counsel.
  • Obtained records for media outlets from various governmental agencies.
  • Counseled media outlets regarding records access.

Supply Chain Litigation

  • Represented automotive OEM in disputes with Tier 1 suppliers.
  • Engages in high-stakes emergency litigation involving temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions regarding the protection of supply chains.
  • Counseled Tier 1 automotive supplier in high stakes litigation against Tier 2 supplier.

Other Significant Litigation

  • Represented the University of Michigan’s Mott Children’s Hospital in a dispute with the family of a minor patient who had been declared brain dead. Plaintiffs sought to block official determination of death, under the Uniform Determination of Death Act, that would have resulted in the discontinuation of mechanical means of support. 
  • Led all e-discovery efforts as defense counsel in multimillion dollar M&A dispute. 
  • Achieved a six figure settlement against Cook County, Illinois in a breach of contract action related to the purchase of high-tech medical imaging equipment. 
  • Represented closely held companies with more than $100 million in assets under management in defense of multiple lawsuits claiming member oppression, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, accounting, conspiracy, concert of action, and other related claims. 
  • Defended Wayne State University against a student group’s claims that the university had violated the First Amendment rights of a student organization by refusing to recognize the student group on the basis that its charter violated Wayne State’s nondiscrimination policy. 
  • Represented hospital in antitrust challenges to threatened agreements between hospital and medical school practice.
  • Represented health insurer in antitrust challenge to competing health insurer’s use of most favored nations clause in hospital contracts.

Prior Experience

  • Served as judicial extern to Chief Justice Loretta H. Rush of the Indiana Supreme Court during law school
  • Indiana University Maurer School of Law, Chief Research Assistant to Professor Ajay Mehrotra, 2014-2016
  • Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP, Summer Associate, 2015




Court Admissions



  • The Best Lawyers in America, Recognized as "One to Watch," 2022, 2024
    • Recognized in the area of Commercial Litigation
  • Michigan Super Lawyers, Recognized as a Rising Star, 2023

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