C. Third-party subpoenas

Under Georgia law, third parties receiving a notice for production of documents or a subpoena for production of documents have an opportunity to object. See, e.g., O.C.G.A. §§ 9-11-34(c)(1); 9-11-45(a)(2). Credit card companies, telephone companies and internet service providers, thus, can object to such subpoenas where they are issued in an effort to identify a client news organization's confidential sources or other privileged information.

H. Media as a party

The privilege does not apply where a reporter with the information or material is a party. See O.C.G.A. § 24-9-30 (privilege applies "in any proceeding where the one asserting the privilege is not a party"). However, the Georgia Court of Appeals has specifically recognized that in defamation claims where the statutory privilege does not apply because the defendant reporter is a party, the trial courts must nevertheless strictly control discovery seeking disclosure of the identity of confidential sources. Atlanta Journal-Constitution v. Jewell, 251 Ga. App.

a. Attorney fees.

The Act expressly requires an award of attorney fees in appropriate cases.  See, e.g., City of Carrollton v. Information Age, Inc., 306 Ga.App. 891, 703 S.E.2d 431 (2010).

9. Availability of court costs and attorneys' fees.

In any successful action to enforce the Act, the court must award attorney fees and reasonable litigation expenses if the court determines that the violation was "without substantial justification" and no special circumstances exist. O.C.G.A. § 50-14-5(b). See, e.g., Slaughter v. Brown, 269 Ga. App. 211, 603 S.E.2d 706 (2004) (lack of bad faith does not support a finding of special circumstances sufficient to decrease the award of litigation costs); Evans Cty. Board of Comm'rs. v. Claxton Enter., 255 Ga, App.

6. Other.

Public employee medical information is often exempt from the Act’s disclosure requirements.

b. Notice requirements.

The Act's notice requirements do not distinguish between open and closed meetings. The Act explicitly provides that meetings during which an agency is discussing the future acquisition of real estate are subject to the Act's notice requirements. O.C.G.A. § 50-14-3(4).

B. Pretrial proceedings



It is well established in Georgia that the public enjoys a clear and routine right of access to pretrial criminal proceedings. The Supreme Court of Georgia has emphasized that the importance of openness in judicial proceedings applies with equal force to pretrial hearings finding that it “is often the most critical stage of a criminal proceedings,” regardless of whether such proceedings and records will bring to light potentially inadmissible evidence. R.W. Page Corp. v. Lumpkin, 249 Ga.

3. Filing of affidavit

Georgia law does not require the filing of an affidavit prior to issuing a subpoena to a reporter.

13. Emergency medical services records.

With the exception of patient medical records, ambulance service records are subject to the Act’s disclosure requirements.  See Griffin-Spalding County Hospital Authority v. Radio Station WKEU, 240 Ga. 444, 241 S.E.2d 196 (1978).