Rachel E. Fugate

Primary Practices

  • Media Law
  • Civil and Commercial Litigation
  • Defamation & Invasion of Privacy
  • Newsgathering / Access
  • Appellate

Education

  • JD, Florida State University, 1998
  • BS, University of Florida, 1995

Bar Admissions

  • Florida
  • Middle District of Florida
  • Southern District of Florida
  • Northern District of Florida
  • 11th Circuit

Recognitions

  • AV Rated
  • Florida Super Lawyers
  • Florida Legal Elite

Rachel is a partner in TLo’s Tampa office. Her practice encompasses a variety of litigation and appellate matters, with a focus on media law. She has represented national media companies, local and regional newspapers and television stations, book publishers, film producers, reality television programs, artists, universities, and non-profit corporations. Rachel provides her clients daily content-related advice and litigates complex defamation, privacy and other content-related claims. Many of her cases have resulted in published appellate opinions and she has appeared before a number of Florida's District Courts of Appeal, the Florida Supreme Court and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Rachel has been nominated to serve on the Governing Committee of the American Bar Association’s Forum on Communications Law. She is a past Vice Chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of Individual Rights & Responsibilities First Amendment Committee and former chair of the Media Law Committee of The Florida Bar. She serves on the Board of Friends of Hillsborough County Animal Resources, Inc. and is very active in the animal rescue community. Prior to entering private practice, Rachel was a staff attorney at Capital Collateral Counsel – Northern Region.

  • Angelastro v. Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 145 So. 3d 838 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014). Obtained affirmance of order granting summary judgment to newspaper defendant in a defamation suit.
  • Muhammad v. State, 132 So. 3d 176 (Fla. 2013). Successfully defended reporter subpoena in death penalty proceeding.
  • O’Barry v. Ocean World, SA, 17 So. 2d 1286 (Fla. 4th DCA 2009). Protected client from improper financial discovery in tortious interference case.
  • NCAA v. AP, 18 So. 3d 1201 (Fla. 1st DCA 2009). Successfully litigated and argued Florida Public Records Act case against Florida State University and the NCAA for access to documents stored on secure NCAA server related to a cheating scandal at the University.
  • Sun-Sentinel Co. v. U.S. Dep’t of Homeland Security, 489 F.3d 1173 (11th Cir. 2007). Argued and won Freedom of Information Act case to obtain addresses of people requesting FEMA assistance after 2004 hurricanes.
  • Sarasota Herald-Tribune v. State, 916 So. 2d 904 (Fla. 2d DCA 2005). Invalidated trial court order prohibiting publication of juror names and prohibiting photographing jurors as prior restraint.
  • In re Records of Dep’t of Children and Family Services, 873 So. 2d 506 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004). Obtained access to DCF records for newspaper client and clarified good-cause standard for obtaining confidential DCF records.
  • Represented national consortium of media entities after 2000 Presidential election to recount ballots in Florida.
  • Routinely represent media entities seeking access to high-profile criminal proceedings, including State v. Casey Anthony and State v. George Zimmerman.
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