Kristen Rasmussen

Staff Attorney

Atlanta
T +1.404.946.9829
F +1.404.459.5734

Overview

Kristen Rasmussen focuses her practice on media law litigation. She advises and represents clients ranging from individual bloggers to large national media organizations, including print, broadcast and online publishers. A professional journalist for many years, both before and after law school, Kristen understands the pressures of the ever-evolving industry. Most recently, she covered the pressures facing in-house law departments for American Lawyer Media and its Atlanta affiliate, the Daily Report. She uses her unique insight into the realities of journalism today to help news media organizations and other content providers with litigation involving First Amendment, access to court records and proceedings, prior restraints, court technology, open government, privacy, confidentiality, defamation, and news gathering matters.

Select Experience

  • Represented a book author seeking access to sealed juror records in the case of Fulton County courthouse convicted murderer Brian Nichols;
  • As a legal fellow at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, drafted nearly two dozen amicus briefs, usually on behalf of numerous news media organizations nationwide, in various state and federal appellate courts on First Amendment and related issues affecting the industry, including:
    • Access to documents in the court-martial of Pfc. Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces).
    • The release of federal prisoners’ mug shots under the FOIA (Eleventh Circuit).
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Experience

  • Represented a book author seeking access to sealed juror records in the case of Fulton County courthouse convicted murderer Brian Nichols;
  • As a legal fellow at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, drafted nearly two dozen amicus briefs, usually on behalf of numerous news media organizations nationwide, in various state and federal appellate courts on First Amendment and related issues affecting the industry, including:
    • Access to documents in the court-martial of Pfc. Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces).
    • The release of federal prisoners’ mug shots under the FOIA (Eleventh Circuit).
    • Efforts to quash a third-party subpoena for the testimony of a former Wall Street Journal reporter about non-confidential, unpublished information (Second Circuit).
    • The proper standard of review of evidence of actual malice and other constitutional issues in a judge’s defamation claim against a newspaper (Virgin Islands Supreme Court).
    • The constitutionality of the Illinois Eavesdropping Act (Seventh Circuit).
    • A gag order prohibiting disclosure of the identities of jurors in the alleged Sept. 11 attackers’ military commissions (Military Commissions Trial Judiciary in Guantanamo Bay).
    • Application of the shield law to an online content provider (New Jersey Supreme Court).
    • The constitutionality of the Washington anti-SLAPP statute (Ninth Circuit).
    • A petition for a writ of certiorari in a case involving a 12-year, blanket sealing order in a criminal prosecution (U.S. Supreme Court).
    • Federal courts’ abstention from media organizations’ challenges to state court policies that systemically restrict the right of public access to court records (Military Commissions Trial Judiciary in Guantanamo Bay).
    • Court rules that allow blanket confidentiality in private arbitration proceedings and records in the Delaware Court of Chancery (U.S. District Court in Delaware).
    • Defamation law’s “of and concerning standard” requirement and the scope of protection under the fair report privilege (Maryland Court of Appeals).
    • Use of the discovery rule in a libel case (Third Circuit).
    • Journalists’ standing to challenge the amended FISA (U.S. Supreme Court).
  • Advised journalists about their states’ Open Records Acts’ application in specific instances.

Recognitions and Memberships

Pro Bono

  • Performed pro bono work on behalf of news media organizations and related advocacy groups, including:
    • Drafted letters of opposition to proposed state legislation.
    • Drafted updates to the Georgia portions of the Media Law Resource Center’s surveys of privacy and libel law, its Resource Materials for Defining “Journalist” and “Media” in Litigation and Legislation, its Catalog of Subpoena Decisions, and the “definitions” provision of its Model Shield Law.
    • Drafted updates to Georgia First Amendment Foundation’s Citizen’s Guide to Open Government.
    • Served as a panelist during the annual Georgia Bar Media & Judiciary Conference.

Prior Positions

  • Law firm representing various media companies: Associate
  • The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: Legal Fellow
  • Gannett Co., Inc., Legal Department: Intern
  • American Lawyer Media: Staff Reporter
  • Pensacola News Journal: News Reporter
  • The Providence Journal: News Reporter

Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia
  • Georgia
  • Florida
  • District of Columbia

Education

  • J.D., University of Florida Levin College of Law, 2010, cum laude; Florida Law Review, Senior Research Editor
  • M.A., Mass Communication, Media Law Emphasis, University of Florida, 2010, with distinction
  • B.S., Texas Christian University, 2000, magna cum laude; TCU Daily Skiff, Managing Editor