Kaitlin M. Gurney

Of Counsel

gurneyk@ballardspahr.com
Tel 215.864.8585
Fax 215.864.8999
Philadelphia

Kaitlin M. Gurney is an experienced litigator who focuses on media law and white collar criminal defense.

Kaitlin defends media and entertainment companies in lawsuits alleging defamation and invasion of privacy, and she represents newsrooms in securing access to public records, documents, and court proceedings. She also regularly advises clients on pre-publication issues. Before becoming a lawyer, Kaitlin was a reporter at The Philadelphia Inquirer, where she covered the New Jersey statehouse. She also worked at The Charlotte Observer and the Raleigh News & Observer.

Kaitlin also advises clients during government investigations and defends them in litigation involving claims of fraud and abuse, particularly the False Claims Act. She is member of Ballard Spahr's White Collar Defense/Internal Investigations practice as well as its Media and Entertainment Law Group.

Representative Matters

Media/First Amendment Practice

  • Defended reporters served with subpoenas seeking their testimony in criminal and civil trials.
  • Working on behalf of a coalition of Pennsylvania media organizations, worked on successful efforts to gain access to court filings and transcripts from hearings and the criminal trials of entertainer Bill Cosby and Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane.
  • Secured documents for reporters from The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and the Allentown Morning Call pursuant to the Pennsylvania Right to Know Law.
  • Led trial preparation efforts for two defamation trials in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, including selection and preparation of fact and expert witnesses and drafting jury instructions and pre-trial memoranda.
  • Represented The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, and philly.com owner, editors, reporters, and cartoonist in a defamation and false light invasion of privacy suit by a Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice and his wife, who in the middle of discovery, voluntarily discontinued the action without the payment of money and the Supreme Court justice resigned.
  • Won summary judgment on five separate grounds, including the truth of the statement, in a defamation and invasion of privacy case brought by a prominent lawyer against a Philadelphia Daily News columnist who called him a "liar" in her column.
  • Successfully sought the exclusion of a plaintiff's linguistics expert in a Frye/Daubert hearing in a defamation and invasion of privacy case brought by the former head of the Philadelphia housing authority related to 250 news articles referencing him.
  • Won early dismissal on preliminary objections of a defamation action brought against the Allentown Morning Call by a woman alleging she was the estranged wife of David Lee Roth.
  • Pre-publication review and risk-based counseling for newspapers, websites, and magazines.
  • Reviewed newsroom policies and media companies' litigation hold procedures.

White Collar Practice

  • Delivered a presentation to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on behalf of a Pennsylvania-based public company that led to a formal declination to prosecute a whistleblower complaint.
  • Prepared witnesses and collected and produced documents, including the supervision of large-scale e-discovery document reviews, for government investigations into pharmaceutical products, including the marketing of an anti-fungal medication, the methods of manufacturing over-the-counter products, and physician speaker events promoting a groundbreaking hepatitis drug.
  • Drafted successful motions leading to the dismissal of False Claims Act cases, including actions against the parent company of a national health insurer and an apparel manufacturing software provider and its investors.
  • Conducted wide-ranging discovery in a False Claims Act case against a Medicare counseling firm that led to the filing of a motion to dismiss by the government.
  • Investigated allegations of corruption and abuse lodged through a public company’s hotline, reporting to auditors ahead of a public filing announcement. Conducted document review and witness interviews and drafted investigation report on a compressed timeline.
  • Investigated allegations that pharmaceutical company revenues were improperly inflated ahead of a quarterly earnings call and that unnecessary stock was shipped to affiliates.
  • Served as company counsel after a medical device manufacturer pled guilty to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations.
  • Counseled pharmaceutical company executives and employees in Russia, Argentina, Mexico, and Israel on compliance with the FCPA in the wake of prior company violations.
  • Drafted compliance and third party due diligence policies and procedures for a newly-merged company and investigated legacy subsidiaries and joint operating agreements.

Pro Bono Experience

For five years, Kaitlin volunteered in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania's acclaimed Supervision to Aid Reentry (STAR) Program (also known as Reentry Court), a federal reentry court program for Philadelphia residents on supervised release that assists with education, training, employment, and legal needs, and substantially reduces the risk of recidivism.

Working with the ACLU and the Education Law Center, she successfully argued for and secured class status on behalf of Lancaster immigrant and refugee students denied ESL education at the School District of Lancaster's main high school, leading to a favorable settlement overseen by the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Judicial Clerkships

Hon. Paul S. Diamond, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Professional Activities

ABA Communications Law Forum Governing Board, At-Large Member, 2018-2021

Media Law Resource Center Criminal Law Committee, Founder and Co-Chair

Publications

Co-author, "Survey of Pennsylvania Libel Law," Media Libel Law State Survey, 2013-2018 (Media Law Resource Center and LexisNexis)

Recent Speaking Engagements

"Search Warrants, Subpoenas & Seizures," Media Law Resource Center Criminal Law Committee, April 2019

"Newsroom Safety & Security," Media Law Resource Center Criminal Law Committee, November 2018

"What's the First Amendment Got to Do With It?" Pennsylvania Bar Institute, October 2018

"Updates in Defamation Law," Pennsylvania News Media Association Annual CLE, July 2018

"What to Do When Your Reporter Is Arrested at the Scene," Media Law Resource Center Criminal Law Committee, June 2018

"Hot Issues on the Internet and Data Privacy," ABA Communications Law Forum, March 2018

Community Activities

Helen Kate Furness Library Board, Wallingford, Pennsylvania, 2016-2019, Vice President

Wallingford, Pennsylvania Sidewalk Committee

Temple University Beasley School of Law (J.D., magna cum laude, 2009)
Note/Comment Editor, Temple Law Review

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (B.A. Journalism, American Studies, summa cum laude, 2000)

Languages

Spanish (conversational)

Pennsylvania

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania