Cynthia L. Counts has more than 25 years of trial and appellate experience. Over the course of the past two decades she has built a national media law practice. She is best known for an aggressive motions practice, and has had consistent success in winning cases in the early stages of litigation. She focuses on libel, privacy, false advertising, newsgathering torts, copyright, media and First Amendment law. Ms. Counts defends not only media, telecom companies, and other corporate clients, but also smaller individuals, newspapers, websites, television stations and small businesses in libel, copyright and trademark infringement claims, as well as breach of contract, invasion of privacy, fraud and promissory estoppel cases. Ms. Counts has been at the forefront of the quest for a broad application of Georgia’s anti-SLAPP statute, enacted in 1996 to provide an early mechanism for the dismissal of harassing libel litigation.
Ms. Counts also litigated successfully for clients with free speech concerns: from those speaking out about assisted suicide, to individuals facing anti-gay discrimination in requests for vanity license plates, to those wrongfully arrested for verbally criticizing law enforcement, or for uttering profanities in a public meeting.
Ms. Counts is a sought-after commentator and writer on libel, privacy, Internet, the First Amendment and open government law. She also has been selected as one of Georgia’s Super Lawyers and is AV® Preeminent Peer Review rated by Martindale-Hubbell. She was also listed in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business.
Memberships include the governing board of the ABA Forum on Communications Law; the board of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation; and co-chair of the Media Law Resource Center’s Newsgathering Committee and annual Conference Planning Committee; and the annual Georgia Bar Media & Judicial Conference Planning Committee.
A group of students successfully petitioned Emory Law School to add a Media Communications Law Course and to have Ms. Counts serve as an adjunct professor. She inspired several of her students to attend law school.
Education: 1992 graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law and a 1989 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with honors.
Areas of Practice
- Appellate Law
- Libel, Copyright and Privacy Law
- Media and First Amendment Law
- Serving as lead counsel in a libel action involving defamation, false light, intrusion into seclusion, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and loss of consortium. Court granted in part Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment - Gaudette, et al. v. Mainely Media LLC, et al., (Superior Court of State of Maine, Case No. CV-15-123) - PENDING as of 08/19/19.
- Assist a national media company with pre-publications review, resolving threats of litigation, using reporter's privilege to obtain withdrawals of subpoenas, advising on FOIA and open records issues, consulting on media law litigation, and providing state-by-state guidelines on various media law issues.
- Represented a news outlet defendant in a defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress litigation based on reporting about lawsuits filed against a doctor. Court ruled no facts plead to support finding of actual malice and that resumed were precluded as a matter of law Franchini v. Portland Press Herald, et al., (United States District Court, District of Maine, Case No. 1:18-cv-00015) – PENDING as of 01/08/19.
- Represent LabMD and its CEO, Mike Daugherty, in a libel and conspiracy case brought by Tiversa in response to the book “Devil Inside the Beltway”. Daugherty’s book led to a Congressional investigation and an FBI raid of Tiversa’s headquarters. Tiversa Holding Corp., et al. v. LabMD, Inc., et al., (In the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Case No. GD-14-016497) – PENDING as of 01/08/19.
- Obtained an order granting an anti-SLAPP motion and awarding our client all of their attorneys’ fees. Plaintiff was disbarred and sued all 9 Justices on the Georgia Supreme Court, alleging that the Georgia Supreme Court fraudulently disbarred him and that its opinion was defamatory. Plaintiff also included the same claims against the ALM, as the owner of the Fulton County Daily Report, and the Daily Report’s publisher, Robert Wayne Curtis, because the Daily Report published the disbarment opinion. Levine v. ALM Media, LLC, et al. (Superior Court of Fulton County, State of Georgia, Case No. 2019CV320847)
- Defeated a motion to compel for our client’s television station from having to produce documents or provide testimony on grounds of a federal reporter’s privilege. Harrison v. Roman Catholic Faithful, Inc., et al. (Superior Court of California, County of Kern, Case No. BCV-19-102204)
- Represent a local media company in a defamation suit involving an investigative television report about the ten local restaurants with the most egregious health code violations. After minimal discovery, Plaintiff agreed to dismiss case in exchange for an agreement that the media company would not file motion seeking sanctions/attorneys fees for false pleading of material facts Arnie's Inc. v. Wood Television, LLC, et al., (State of Michigan, In the Kent County Circuit Court, Case No. 18-04220)
- Defended a non-party courtroom videographer company that filed a Rule 22 Request for Camera Access; the court granted their motion for reconsideration via an order granting the request to install recording equipment pursuant to the rules and guidelines for electronic and photographic news coverage of judicial proceedings. Brower v. Johnson & Johnson, Inc., et al., (State Court of Fulton County, State of Georgia; Civil Action File No. 16-EV-005534).
- Negotiated for the release of hundreds of sealed court records after filing a motion to unseal court records on behalf of newspaper client. Murrey v. Atlanta National League Baseball Club, Inc., et al., (State Court of Fulton County, State of Georgia, Case No. 16EV001898).
- Obtained a motion to dismiss of a libel complaint arising from a news report that allegedly implied plaintiff, a local radio DJ who posted his video of an Alt Right rally on social media, was racist. Judge Grine issued an Opinion and Order that granted all of the defendants' preliminary objections - with prejudice and without leave to amend the complaint and dismissed the case. Reilly v. WBRE-TV, et al., (In the Court of Common Pleas of Columbia County, PA, Case No. 330-CV-2018).
- Defended a local television company and reporter in a libel case involving a news report covering the temporary suspension of a deputy marshal that erroneously reported an accusation of courthouse sexual harassment against the marshal. Motion to Dismiss was successfully granted, based on the Connecticut anti-SLAPP statute. Georgetti v. Nexstar Media Group, Inc., et al. (Superior Court of Connecticut, J.D. of New Haven at New Haven, Docket Number: NNH-CV18-6087491.)
- Represented Anne King, who sued her sheriff’s deputy ex-husband and his friend for malicious and retaliatory arrest. Mr. King and his friend, also in the sheriff's department, had Ms. King arrested in response to a Facebook post of hers that her husband disliked and held to be defamatory based on a statute that was ruled unconstitutional in 1982. Ms. King prevailed on malicious prosecution claims and a 1983 Civil Rights complaint. Anne King v. Corey King, et al., (In the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia-Macon Division, Case No. 5:17-cv-24).
- Obtained a dismissal with prejudice in an action alleging defamation and related claims of tortious interference and intentional infliction of emotional distress against Defendant NexStar Broadcasting, Inc. over a News Report allegedly falsely accusing the Plaintiff, a self-proclaimed public figure, of being a scam artist. Court found Plaintiff had failed to show actual malice and that, in the full context of the News Report at issue, a reasonable viewer could only understand “scam artists” to be an opinion based on disclosed facts. Holland v. Wood TV 8 (State of Michigan, In the 9th Circuit Court of Kalamazoo County, Case No. 2019-0122-CB).
- Defendants moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and failure to state a claim, which the court granted, holding that Defendants did not purposefully avail themselves of Maine under the “effects” test of the Supreme Court’s opinion in Calder v. Jones, 465 U.S. 783 (1984). Plaintiff appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, No. 19-1539 and the Court dismissed the appeal. Franchini v. Sally Pipes, et al., (United States District Court, District of Maine, Case No. 1:18-cv-00477).
- Obtained dismissal with prejudice involving allegations of legal malpractice, breach of contract, intentional and reckless misrepresentation, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and the CT Unfair Trade Practices Act. Prevailed on an anti-SLAPP motion along with other co-counsel on grounds of Fair Report privilege, Jalli v. Nexstar, (Superior Court, State of Connecticut, FBT-CV-18-6070048-S, 2018).
- Consulted and assisted with a successful anti-SLAPP motion involving allegations of libel based upon a news report involving allegations of criminal misconduct and won an award for attorney fees. Searles-Harris v. KBAK & KGET-TV (Superior Court of the State of California, For the County for Kern, Case No. BCV-18-101506-TSC, 2018).
- Filed motions to quash and successfully argued that reporters should not have to testify at hearings in high-profile murder trial supported by the reporter's privilege on behalf of reporters from FOX 5 and the Fulton County Daily Report. The Judge ruled that the reporters would not be excluded by the rule of sequestration and ultimately refused to allow the prosecution to call the reporters to the stand. After counsel was told to come back to court for a second hearing, the Court encouraged the State to pay the media companies attorney fees for "having wasted" counsel's time. State v. McIver (Superior Court of Fulton County, State of Georgia, Criminal Case No. 17SC153902, 2018).
- Consulted and assisted in drafting a successful motion for the dismissal with prejudice of a complaint alleging defamation and Business and Professions Code violations for false and misleading advertising and unfair business practices These allegations stem from a blog post regarding the Plaintiff’s disbarment from the California bar. The client was a writer contracted to write articles that were then posted on a local law firm’s website. Filed two separate anti-SLAPP motions (the first to the defamation claim and the second to the BPC claims after Plaintiff was allowed to amend the claims to pertain to the client). The court granted both anti-SLAPP motions after finding that the writing was a fair and accurate report on an official proceeding and did not constitute commercial speech. The anti-SLAPP motions were filed after Duane Morris set aside a default that had been entered against the client before Duane Morris had been retained. Robertson v. Burns (Superior Court of California, County of San Mateo, Case No. CIV 530381, 2018).
- Obtained dismissal with prejudice involving allegations of defamation/libel against a media company and a radio talk show host after counsel filed a Motion to Strike Complaint based on Georgia's recently amended anti-SLAPP statute. Mullins v. Beasley Media Group, LLC, et al. (Superior Court of Gwinnett County, State of Georgia, Case No. 18-A-02659-8.
- Obtained significant appellate decision affirming grant of summary judgment because plaintiff failed to create a jury question on actual malice. The court held that although the plaintiff did not comment on the public controversy at issue, his “conduct” in “rais[ing] his public profile” made him a limited purpose public figure required to prove actual malice by clear and convincing evidence. The court held that the plaintiff could not meet this “extremely high” burden as a matter of law due to the “extent of [the reporter’s] investigation and his reporting of [the plaintiff’s] explanations” and “opposing view.” Ladner v. New World Communications of Atlanta, Inc., A17A0883, 2017 WL 4856321 (Ga. Ct. App. Oct. 27, 2017).
- Prevailed on a motion to dismiss in the Nevada District Court arguing that Cox Communications was immune from liability under the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”) for passively hosting websites containing information regarding an expunged criminal conviction. CDA 230 holds that online intermediaries that host or republish speech are not legally responsible for what other publishers say or do. Wilson v. Web Express LLC (District Court of Nevada. Eighth Judicial District Court Clark County, 2017).
- Prevailed on a motion to dismiss in the Michigan Circuit Court arguing that Cox Communications was immune from liability under the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”) for passively hosting websites containing information regarding an expunged criminal conviction. Court found that all of Plaintiff’s claims against Cox were barred by Section 230 of the CDA and dismissed them with prejudice. John Doe v. Perfect Privacy LLC (Michigan 7th Circuit Court, 2017) Case No. 17-108537-CZ.
- Used amended Georgia anti-SLAPP statute to secure early stage dismissal of libel complaint in which plaintiff alleged that defendant’s notification to insurance company about possible arson in a house fire constituted defamation. Gauthier v. Vaughn (Ga. Superior Court, Forsyth County, 2017). Civil action 16CV-21633.
- Obtained summary judgment for television news station and reporter following a veteran’s claim of defamation and libel after station reported veteran had lied about receiving a Purple Heart. Ladner v. New World Communications of Atlanta, Inc. (Ga. State Court, DeKalb County, 2016).
- Obtained dismissal of a libel lawsuit by a local Assistant District Attorney upon threat of a motion to strike under Georgia’s newly amended anti-SLAPP statute. Ferguson v. New World Communications of Atlanta, Inc. (Ga. Superior, Fulton County, 2016)
- Successfully moved for judgment on the pleadings in favor of the producers of the COPS television show in a defamation, invasion of privacy, and emotional distress claim. Butler v. Gwinnett County et al., (N.D. Ga. June 3, 2016) No. 1:15-CV-3289
- Defended Telemundo Atlanta in a libel suit arising from the station’s investigative news reports about the plaintiff’s involvement in running an unaccredited school. The plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the case upon threat of a motion to strike under Georgia’s anti-SLAPP statute. Beltran, et al. v. Korean American Television Broadcasting Group, et al. (Ga. Superior, Gwinnett County, 2016).
- Quashed multiple subpoenas by felony defendant seeking for in camera review raw footage and other newsgathering materials from Fox 5 concerning report about individuals using drones to sneak contraband into prisons. State v. Spurlock (Ga. Superior Court, Fulton County, 2016).
- Successfully moved for reconsideration of trial court order requiring in camera review of television production company’s raw footage in high-profile serial killer case. Trial court ultimately ruled in favor of production company, declining to order even in camera review of the material. The ruling for our client followed a hearing in which we showed the defendant had not met his burdens under the Georgia and New York Reporter’s Privilege. State v. Presley (Ga. Superior Court, Fulton County, 2016)
- Mounted anti-SLAPP defense to secure early dismissal of physician's libel claim that investigative television news coverage of the deaths of several of her cosmetic surgery patients was the reason her license was suspended. 2015 Nedra Dodds v. Adam Murphy, CBS46, Channel 2 Action News, et al.
- Secured summary judgment in favor of singer/reality TV performer sued for defamation by a former manager for comments broadcast on the show. Uncovered "tweets" and other evidence supporting Plaintiff was a public figure and subject to "actual malice" standard. Mickey Wright, Jr. v. Kimberly Michelle Pate, et al
- Obtained summary judgment and court ordered sanctions hearing in favor of two radio station hosts in a defamation and false light claim concerning comments they made on their radio program, a satirical show that discussed issues particularly relevant to a Hispanic audience and dismissed after court ordered hearing as to sanctions. Gabriela Gonzalez-Lamberson v. Davis Broadcasting Company
- Secured dismissal of disorderly conduct charges filed against client following a verbal confrontation with neighbors, who recorded the interaction. Judge agreed the statements did not rise to the level of "fighting words" and thus was protected speech. 2015 State of Georgia v. Kenneth Ray Chiavone.
- Secured dismissal of criminal charges against client accused of yelling epithet at police for their treatment of a suspect. Pursued free speech claim in federal court and secured $100,000 settlement for client. 2014 Amy Barnes v. Cobb County et al.
- Obtained a judgment on the pleadings for clients in a libel case filed by a contractor upset over their online review of his company's services. Judgment followed referencing of the voluminous record of cases protecting a consumer's right to voice an opinion of services received. 2014 Viking Fence Company, LLC v. Charles Denyer and Megan Denyer.
- Secured order dismissal of libel case involving a whistleblower's emails based on Georgia’s anti-SLAPP statute. Client reported to federal officials that plaintiffs (also his former employer) made a practice of illegally cutting out joint venture partners after securing significant government contracts. Argued that the defendant's emails to federal officials regarding a $25 million Department of State contract in Uganda were protected under anti-SLAPP; court agreed and ordered hearing on sanctions/attorneys fee. 2014 Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions, LLC v. Christopher G. Herman
- Secured removal of injunction restraining Atlanta television station from broadcasting an audio tape it obtained that was relevant to the criminal trial regarding a highly publicized cheating scandal involving the superintendent of city schools. What the judge characterized as a "well-written brief" led him to apologize for overstepping and he immediately lifted the injunction. 2014 State of Georgia v. Beverly Hall, et al.
- Represented plaintiff in federal court suit who sought prestige license plate tags and was denied because Department of Driver Services had determined the requested tags (ex. 4GAYLIB) were obscene. Case led to changes (in favor of client) in the state regulations prohibiting discrimination in the issuance of specific vanity license plates. 2013 Gilbert v. Mikell
- Secured dismissal with prejudice prior to engaging in any discovery based on grounds that plaintiff's libel claims against television broadcaster were barred by state public interest privilege and wire service defense. 2012 Bodana v. Times-Journal.
- Obtained $85,000 settlement in a First and Fourth Amendment lawsuit for woman who was arrested for saying an expletive at a Town Council meeting. 2012 Kirkendoll v. City of Smyrna.
- Secured voluntary dismissal without prejudice in claim for conspiracy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and tortious interference against television broadcaster after filing motion for summary judgment before there was any formal discovery. Nathaniel Johnson v. FOX 5.
- Obtained motion for summary judgment without any discovery being conducted in an employment case because of a lack of evidence establishing an employer-employee relationship. 2010 Zeigler v. FOX Broadcasting.
- Secured dismissal of two federal RICO lawsuits against broadcast client and a reporter within two weeks following threats of attorney's fees and sanctions for frivolous litigation. 2010 Hindu Temple and Community Center of Georgia v. New World Communications, and Annamalai et al. v. Loganathan et al.
- Secured voluntary dismissal with prejudice of libel case filed against television reporter following his investigative series about plaintiff with argument that attorney's fees and sanctions would be mandated by anti-SLAPP statute. Annamalai et al. v. Randy Travis.
- Secured voluntary dismissal of libel action against an attorney for statements included in a press release following arguments that the statements were privileged and complaint was frivolous. 2010 Robinson v. Loewenthal.
- Represented plaintiff with Huntington's Disease who sought comfort from a right-to-die group. Filed lawsuit challenging state statute outlawing people from speaking publicly about assisted suicide. Georgia Supreme Court ruled in 2012 the assisted suicide statute violated the First Amendment. 2010 Caldwell v. Georgia.
- Secured voluntary dismissal of complaint by drug developer who sought $300 million in damages, a temporary restraining order and an injunction demanding removal of an article from an online news publisher's website. 2009 Evans v. Chicago Reader.
- Secured voluntary dismissal of libel complaint in exchange for factual clarification and assurance that defendant publisher would not seek attorney's fees for frivolous litigation on grounds that truthful reports of information from police are privileged and no evidence of actual malice. 2009 Askew v. Ingles & West Ga. Shopper.
- Obtained summary judgment for television news station following public official's claim of defamation, false light invasion of privacy and public disclosure of private facts resulting from station's news reporting. Godfrey v. Cobb County and New World Communications of Atlanta.
- Won judgment on the pleadings without use of any formal discovery in a $1 million federal libel lawsuit brought by former EO of a medical products company over criticism he received regarding his involvement in a Rolls-Royce club. Successfully represented a volunteer officer in that club. In addition, after federal district court denied imposition of sanctions, secured a reversal in Eleventh Circuit and a $545,000 consent order favoring client. 2008 Koly v. Enney.
- Secured dismissal with prejudice of plaintiff's claim against television broadcaster for libel, invasion of privacy, fraudulent misrepresentation and infliction of emotional distress, due to plaintiff's failure to comply with anti-SLAPP verification requirements. 2008 Boxcar Development Corp. v. New World Communications of Atlanta.
- Quashed plaintiff's motion to compel disclosure of documents and information a television reporter obtained from an anonymous source during newsgathering pursuant to Georgia Reporter's Privilege. 2008 Hendrix v. Highsmith.
- Secured voluntary dismissal of defamation complaint regarding television broadcaster's investigation of health conditions at plaintiff's cosmetic services business. Stewart v. WAGA FOX 5.
- Secured voluntary dismissal of defamation complaint regarding television news broadcaster's undercover investigation showing plaintiff's security company hired convicted felons. OSHA Security, Inc. v. FOX 5.
- Advised entertainers, record labels and publishers of rights under copyright law, right of publicity and defamation law.
- Upheld right of media to have access to sealed records and preliminary judicial proceedings and trial of a high profile criminal defendant accused of murdering a judge and several members of the law enforcement. State v. Nichols.
- Successfully opposed motion seeking restraining order filed by pool company seeking to prevent a television station from broadcasting an audio tape it obtained. Blue World Pools Inc. v. New World Communications of Atlanta Inc.
- Represented lighting manufacturer and obtained partial summary judgment in trademark infringement case. 2005 Light Sources Inc. v. Cosmedico Light, Inc.
- Obtained summary judgment from the trial court (affirmed on appeal) without use of formal discovery in case of a newspaper employee who sued for libel and invasion of privacy regarding her employer's use of her likeness in conjunction with a cover story on telemarketing practices. 2003 Collins v. Creative Loafing.
- Obtained summary judgment, without formal discovery, for newspaper following physician's libel claim concerning news reporting of numerous medical malpractice claims against physician, who regularly treated HIV patients in Atlanta. 2001 Annisman v. Window Media.
- Represented bank on appeals in affirming summary judgment approving creditor's sale of property in a default and recovery of deficiency remaining. 1996 & 1998 Alliance Trust v. Harris Trust & Savings Bank, Senske v. Harris Trust & Savings Bank.
- Represented commercial real estate partnership on appeal in affirming summary judgment in a tortious interference case. 1997 Disaster Services Inc. v. ERC Partnership.
- Won trial verdict in defamation case (affirmed on appeal) brought by a former public service commissioner against television station regarding news story concerning prosecution of corrupt public officials. 1996 Barber v. Gillett Communications of Atlanta.
- Represented tire manufacturer in product liability case, appeal led to reversal of $43 million jury verdict. 1996 Ford v. Uniroyal Goodrich Tire Co.
- Represented international food company on appeal in reversing a jury verdict growing out of a multi-million dollar breach of contract matter. 1995 W.R. Grace & Company v. Taco Tico Acquisition Corp.
- Represented national appliance manufacturer on appeal in affirming summary judgment in a product liability case. 1993 Bunch v. Maytag Corp.
- Obtained a summary judgment decision in district court in Jefferson County, Idaho, in a case stemming from allegedly defamatory comments made on a radio program.
- Represented a radio station concerning potential claims from the owner of the Miami Herald site and the city of Miami seeking to terminate the station’s rights to a radio tower, seeking to eject the station or require that the tower be dismantled.
- Defended an integrated media company against a lawsuit brought by the DOJ in federal district court challenging a proposed transaction.
- Acting as co-counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in representing a reporter and an animal rights group seeking access to Yellowstone National Park to observe and report on the United States Park Service’s population control efforts against the wild bison of Yellowstone.
- Obtained an order from the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey granting summary judgment against all damages brought against a major U.S. cable and satellite television channel in an action in which plaintiff sought $98 million in damages for an alleged breach of a licensing agreement and misappropriation of trade secrets.
- Commercial dispute involving the allocation of certain deferred revenues in an asset sale transaction and the plaintiff purchaser’s claims that it should be indemnified for those deferred revenues. L&L Broadcasting LLC v. Triad Broadcasting Co., LLC, C.A. No. N13C-10-028 WCC, Delaware Superior Court.
- Obtained on behalf of an online and print publisher an Order and Judgment from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit affirming the dismissal of a claim for defamation arising out of an article the client published concerning the plaintiff’s failed discrimination case against her previous employer. The 4th Circuit held the client’s article was an accurate description of judicial proceedings and therefore was protected by the fair report privilege.
- Represented a major worldwide television and internet retailer in the defense of several class actions brought against it based on its sales practices.
Current Pending Cases
- New York
- Supreme Court of Georgia
- Court of Appeals of Georgia
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
- U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- Supreme Court of the United States
- University of Georgia School of Law, J.D., 1992
- Order of the Coif
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, B.A., cum laude, 1989
- Duane Morris LLP
- Partner, 2015-present
- Counts Law Group
- Owner/Managing Partner, 2000-2015
- Dow, Lohnes and Albertson
- Associate, 1998-2000
- Alston & Bird
- Associate, 1992-1998
- American Bar Association
- Tort, Trial and Insurance Practice Section
-- Past Chair, Media, Privacy and Defamation Law Committee
- Women in Communications Law Subcommittee
-- Member, 1996-present
-- Chair, 1999
- Forum on Communications Law
-- Member, 1998-2014
-- Governing Committee, 2014-present
Media Law Resource Center
- Member, MLRC Planning Committee, 2017-present
- Past Chair, Newsgathering Committee, 2013-2019
- Georgia First Amendment Foundation
- Board, 2014-present
Honors and Awards
- Woman Leader in the Law, Legal Leaders, 2020
Listed in Chambers USA: America's Leading Business Lawyers, 2017-2019
Georgia Super Lawyers, 2014–2019
- Atlanta Women of Power and Influence, 2015-2016
- AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
Civic and Charitable Activities
- America to Anywhere for Arthritis (A2A4A)
- Member/Marathon Runner Fundraising for Arthritis Foundation, 2007-present
- Quoted, "Trial to Start Monday in Georgia’s First-ever Public Records Case," The Atlantic-Journal Constitution, December 15, 2019
- Co-Author, “MLRC Model Brief on Newsgathering Claims,” Media Law Resource Center, November 2019
Co-author, "Second Circuit Addresses Requirements and Considerations for Sealing (and Unsealing) Allegedly Sensitive Documents Filed in Lawsuits," Duane Morris Alert, July 15, 2019
Quoted, "Were Roseanne Barr’s Free Speech Rights Violated When Disney Fired Her?" Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 31, 2018
Quoted, "Top Reed Aide Pressured Officials to Delay Records Release," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 26, 2018
Quoted, "Journalists Subpoenaed to Testify in Murder Case," Daily Report, March 9, 2018
Quoted, "Teacher Files Lawsuit Against Parent Over Social Media Post," CBS46.com, January 10, 2018
Co-Author, "Palin's Suit Against The New York Times Dismissed by Federal Court Weighing in on Defamation and Political Editorials," Duane Morris Alert, September 6, 2017 and Media Law Resource Center, 2017 – The Court's emphasis on the need to set forth a plausible claim for relief makes particular sense in public figure defamation cases because it helps ensure that those exercising their First Amendment rights will not be unduly burdened with expensive and baseless litigation.
Quoted, "First Amendment Lawyers Say Conviction of Citizen Journalist Could Lead to More Media Arrests," Daily Report, December 6, 2017
- Co-author, Model Brief on Access to the Executive Branch, Media Law Resource Center 2017
- Co-author, "Demystifying the Law on Opinion and Embracing Milkovich," Communications Lawyer, Winter 2016 – The Supreme Court’s 1990 decision in Milkovich does not deserve the scarlet letter it has received from the libel defense bar.
- Co-author, "Supreme Court of Georgia Clarifies Constitutional Protections for Commenting on Public Controversies," Duane Morris Alert, September 15, 2016 and Media Law Resource Center, 2016
- Co-Author, "Strategies for Efficiently and Economically Winning a Media Case," ABA Media, Privacy, & Defamation Law Committee Newsletter, 2011
- Guest Columnist, "Taxpayer Money Always Needs Public Scrutiny -- No Exceptions," Atlanta Journal Constitution, 2011 – Editorial column regarding risks associated with a Georgia Senate Bill that would have trumped the right of citizens to learn about tax breaks or deals offered to recruit private companies to Georgia. The proposed law would have effectively permitted government officials to make secret deals and withhold details about how tax-payer money was being spent.
- Author, "Plaintiff Failed to Show Fault," Media Law Resource Center, 2009
- Author, "Georgia's Anti-SLAPP Statute Applied in Media Case: First Published Decision Applying Statute to Media Defendant," Media Law Resource Center, 2008
- Co-Author, "Survey of Georgia Privacy Law," Media Law Resource Center, 2001 – Fifty-state survey of privacy law.
- Co-Author, "Libel in Cyberspace: Liability and Jurisdictional Issues in this New Frontier," Albany Law Review, 1996 – Written at a time when the Internet was uncharted legal territory, Ms. Counts' law review article on jurisdictional issues in Internet libel cases is still frequently cited by law school professors and other law review articles.
- Co-Author, Handbook on Georgia Appellate Procedure, 1996
- Co-Author, "Litigating Product Liability Case Under the Banks 'Risk/Utility' Test: Predicting the Line Between Summary Judgment and Triable Claims and Outlying Trial Strategies for a Risky but Utilitarian World," 5th Annual Product Liability Seminar, 1996
Selected Speaking Engagements
- Frequent contributor to Court TV
- Speaker, "Hot Issues in Access and Newsgathering," Annual ABA Annual Conferences, 2019 – Austin, TX, 2018 – Miami, FL,2017 – New Orleans, LA, 2016 – Naples, FL
- Speaker, "Billable Bites," Emory/Dury Consulting, March 12, 2019
Speaker, “Current Events and Libel 101,” University of Georgia Terry College of Business, Atlanta, Georgia, December 6, 2017
- Speaker, "Media Literacy 101," Atlanta Press Club, Atlanta Georgia, May 22, 2017
- Speaker, "The Media Speaks," Adult Learning Program, May 17, 2017
- Moderator, "If You Can't Say Anything Nice, Don't Say Anything: Analyzing Unpublishing Demands, Nondisparagement Clauses, and Whistleblower Retaliation and their Impact on the Fourth Estate," University of Kansas Media and the Law Seminar, Kansas City, Missouri, May 5, 2017
- Panelist, "Georgia Reflections on Ferguson," Access, Fairness, Public Trust and Confidence Committee, December 15, 2016
- Co-presenter, MLRC Conference, Virginia, September 2016
- Panelist, "Anti-SLAPP Statute," Georgia First Amendment Foundation Breakfast, January 28, 2016
- Speaker, "Rights, Roles and Responsibilities of Press and Media," Government, Politics and Media Institute of Holy Innocents' Episcopal School, 2014
- Speaker, "The Basics of Georgia's Open Records Law: What You Need to Know About Public Records and Open Meetings," 2012
- Speaker, "Legal Issues Arising from the Use of Social Media," Digital News: Bluejeans Workshop, University Georgia Grady College of Journalism, 2011 – Speaker/panelist at the University of Georgia's annual Digital News Workshop at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication on legal and ethical issues journalists face today, the increased significance of social media in news reporting and the risks of relying on internet information resources.
- Panelist, "Open Records Requests," Atlanta Press Club, 2011 – Discussion sponsored by the Atlanta Press Club with Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens regarding how open record requests were used to uncover a cheating scandal in the Atlanta public school system and how the revised open records bill will affect the future of investigative reporting.
- Speaker, "Libel & Privacy 101 for Authors," BookLogix Seminar, 2011 – Presentation to authors explaining how libel and privacy claims could be brought against them for using real-life individuals in both fiction and non-fiction, and how they can minimize their risk of being sued.
- Speaker, "Alternative Fee Billing for Media Cases," ABA Forum on Communications Law, January 29, 2010 – Panel of in-house and outside counsel discussed their experiences and success stories with alternative fee billing.
- Speaker, "Deposition 101 in Libel and Privacy Cases," Media Law Resource Center National Seminar, 2008
- Speaker, "Ways to Improve Relationships Between the Bar, Media and Judiciary," Libel Defense Resource Center Breakfast, 2000
- Speaker, "Curbing Discovery Abuses: Answering Discovery Requests," Institute for Continuing Legal Education, 1996
- Speaker, "Motions for Summary Judgment and Other Pre-Trial Motions," Civil Litigation for Younger Lawyers Seminar, 1995