L. Lin Wood

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L. Lin Wood
Lin Wood by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Wood in November 2011.
Lucian Lincoln Wood Jr.

(1952-10-19) October 19, 1952 (age 66)
Years active1977–present

Lucian Lincoln "Lin" Wood Jr. (born October 19, 1952 in Raleigh, North Carolina) is an American attorney based in Atlanta, Georgia. He represented Richard Jewell,[1][2][3][4] the security guard falsely accused in the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta in 1996. Wood's representation of Richard Jewell inspired Dan Rather to call him the "attorney for the damned",[5][6] and helped transform Wood from a personal injury lawyer to a nationally known defamation lawyer.[7]


Wood graduated from Mercer University cum laude in 1974 and graduated from Walter F. George School of Law cum laude in 1977. From 1977 to 1996 Wood litigated personal injury cases and medical malpractice cases in the State of Georgia.[8][9]

Defamation and libel lawsuits[edit]

Wood's first libel and defamation client was Richard Jewell,[1][2][3][4] the security guard falsely accused in the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta in 1996.

Jewell was quickly followed by other high-profile cases, including John and Patsy Ramsey, the parents of JonBenét Ramsey. [10][11][12] Wood was the plaintiff's lead attorney for John and Patsy Ramsey and their son Burke, prosecuting defamation claims on their behalf against St. Martin's Press, Time Inc., The Fox News Channel, American Media, Inc., Star, The Globe, Court TV and The New York Post. John and Patsy Ramsey were also sued in two separate defamation lawsuits arising from the publication of their book, The Death of Innocence. The suit was brought by two individuals named in the book as having been investigated by Boulder police as suspects in JonBenét's murder. The Ramseys were defended in those lawsuits by Lin Wood and three other Atlanta attorneys, James C. Rawls, Eric P. Schroeder, and S. Derek Bauer. The lawsuits against the Ramseys were dismissed. The ruling was partially based on an in-depth decision by U.S. District Court Judge Julie Carnes that "abundant evidence" in the murder case pointed to an intruder having committed the crime.[13]

In November 2006, Wood, on behalf of Rod Westmoreland, a friend of JonBenét Ramsey's father, filed a defamation suit[14] against Keith Greer, who had posted a message on an Internet forum using the pseudonym "undertheradar". Greer had accused Westmoreland of participating in the kidnapping and murder.[15] Greer has defended his statement.[16]

Wood went on to represent former U.S. Congressman Gary Condit, and the alleged victim in the Kobe Bryant case.[6] He has also represented fellow attorney Howard K. Stern in defamation lawsuits against John O'Quinn, lawyer for Virgie Arthur, the mother of Anna Nicole Smith and against Rita Cosby, the author of Blonde Ambition, The Untold Story of Anna Nicole Smith.

In November, 2011, Wood was hired by then-presidential candidate Herman Cain, in his efforts to fight off sexual harassment accusations.[5][17]

Wood currently represents Burke Ramsey, older brother of murder victim JonBenet Ramsey, in a pair of related lawsuits stemming from the CBS network docuseries The Case of: JonBenét Ramsey. They include a $150 Million suit against Dr. Werner Spitz, a Michigan-based forensic pathologist, over his assertion in a promotional CBS Detroit radio interview that Burke killed his sister when a young child. [18] The other suit is a $750 Million suit against CBS and other parties involved in the docuseries, where the same allegations were made.

Wood was lead attorney in Nicholas Sandmann's defamation suit against The Washington Post. Sandmann, a student at Covington Catholic High School, was a party to the January 2019 Lincoln Memorial confrontation.

Other Significant lawsuits[edit]

On November 30, 2012, CNN covered the DaVita Inc. Medicare and Medicaid Fraud Lawsuit pending in which Wood is a lead attorney for the plaintiffs.[19] That lawsuit settlement in 2015 was nearly $500 Million plus attorneys fees.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Lin Wood was raised in Georgia after moving to Macon, Georgia, at age 3. Wood has stated in news accounts that his family struggled financially with frequent episodes of domestic abuse involving his parents.[8][9] He has one sibling, Diane Wood Stern born February 1951 and a half sister, Linda Martin born in 1946. After a school dance, the then 16-year-old Wood returned home to find his father had beaten his mother to death.[8][9][21] L. Lin Wood Sr. pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, a charge reduced from first-degree murder.[22] He served a little over two years in prison. Wood has stated that it was this experience that solidified his earlier decision to become a lawyer.[8][9][21]

Wood lived with friends and graduated from Mark Smith High School in Macon, Georgia in 1970.

Wood presently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and has four children, two of whom are attorneys.[23] Wood and Mercer University announced a one million dollar fund set up by Wood at his Alma Mater to be called the "L. Lin Wood Fund for the Enhancement of Mercer Law School".[24]

Coverage in newspapers and books[edit]

The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that "Wood has 28 years of experience as a trial lawyer focusing on civil litigation, representing individuals and corporations as plaintiffs and defendants in tort and business cases involving claims of significant damage. He also has extensive experience in First Amendment litigation and management of the media in high-profile cases. He was the lead civil attorney for Richard Jewell related to reporting about Jewell in connection with the 1996 bombing of Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta; the attorney for John and Patsy Ramsey and their son in matters relating to the 1996 murder of JonBenét Ramsey in Boulder, Colo.; the attorney for former U. S. Congressman Gary Condit over the May 2001 abduction and murder of Chandra Levy in Washington; co-counsel in the civil action in Colorado against NBA star Kobe Bryant; lead counsel for MedQuest Associates Inc. and J.P. Morgan Partners LLC in a class action in Atlanta dealing with health-care issues; and lead counsel for AirTran in defamation litigation against the Cleveland, Ohio, newspaper The Plain Dealer." [25]

Dary Matera described Wood's successes in the Richard Jewell case: "Richard Jewell hired himself some crack libel attorneys, and they've been hammering the media ever since. So far, Atlanta lawyers L. Lin Wood and Wayne Grant have torched NBC, CNN, a community college where Jewell once worked, and other media outlets for more than $2 million and counting. And that doesn't include the undisclosed "six figure" fee they secured for the movie story. The biggest lawsuits - against the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and some other major media outlets - are still pending." [26]

A 2008 book by Jim Fisher described Wood's role in the Ramsey case, which led to the couple's exoneration: "In 1999, after absorbing an enormous amount of abuse from the media, the Ramseys went on the offensive. They hired a more aggressive attorney, L. Lin Wood, and published a book, The Death of Innocence: JonBenét's Parents Tell Their Story." [27]

The Los Angeles Times described Wood's role in the Kobe Bryant case: "The woman allegedly raped by Kobe Bryant has hired renowned attorney L. Lin Wood, a libel specialist who has represented such clients as the family of JonBenet Ramsey, former Rep. Gary Condit and Richard Jewell in lawsuits against the media." [28]


  1. ^ a b Washington Post, "Ex-Suspect in Bombing Sues Newspapers, College; Jewell's Libel Claim Seeks Unspecified Damages," Washington Post, January 29, 1997.
  2. ^ a b HARRY R. WEBER, "Former Olympic Park Guard Jewell Dies," Washington Post, August 30, 2007.
  3. ^ a b CNN, "Jewell sues newspapers, former employer for libel," CNN, January 28, 1997.
  4. ^ a b David Kohn, "60 Minutes II: Falsely Accused," CBS 60 Minutes, February 11, 2009.
  5. ^ a b Dongen, Rachel Van (8 November 2011). "Herman Cain's powerful attorney: L. Lin Wood". Washington Post. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  6. ^ a b Olsen, Patrick; Rodriguez, Victoria (28 September 2004). "Bryant's team up against 'attorney for the damned'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  7. ^ Tucker, Kathryn (28 January 2019). "Teen in Viral Video Hires Atlanta Defamation Lawyer". ALM Media Properties, LLC. Daily Report. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d Krista Reese, "Public figures have tough case to prove," Archived 2006-02-11 at the Wayback Machine Denver Rocky Mountain News, November 7, 1999
  9. ^ a b c d Carlton Fletcher, "L Lin Wood," Archived 2008-09-19 at the Library of Congress Web Archives Albany Herald, September 14, 2008.
  10. ^ Erin Moriarty, "JonBenét: DNA Rules Out Parents," "CBS", March 26, 2005.
  11. ^ Vanessa Miller, "Boulder police take back Ramsey case," "Colorado Daily" February 2, 2009
  12. ^ David Kohn, "Searching: The Interrogation Tapes," "CBS" February 11, 2009
  13. ^ R. Robin McDonald All Articles (2009-03-16). "Northern District of Georgia's New Chief Judge Reflects on Her Career". Law.com. Retrieved 2011-06-22.
  14. ^ Time Waster (2006-11-09). "Man Sues Over JonBenet Murder Claim". Thesmokinggun.com. Retrieved 2011-06-22.
  15. ^ "JonBenet Ramsey Case Encyclopedia wiki / Legal Issues Surrounding JBR Case". Jonbenetramsey.pbwiki.com. Retrieved 2011-06-22.
  16. ^ "JonBenet Ramsey Case Encyclopedia wiki / undrtheradar biosketch". Jonbenetramsey.pbwiki.com. 2007-02-28. Retrieved 2011-06-22.
  17. ^ Shear, Michael D.; Rutenberg, Jim; McIntire, Mike (November 8, 2011). "Herman Cain Denies Harassment Accusations; Second Woman Speaks Out". The New York Times.
  18. ^ "Burke Ramsey Lawsuit: JonBenet Family Lawyer Rips CBS Docuseries. Westword.com, October 10, 2016.
  19. ^ Scott Bronstein and Drew Griffin, "Dialysis company accused of giant Medicare fraud," CNN Special Investigations Unit, November 30, 2012.
  20. ^ DENVER (CBS4), "DaVita Settlement Nearly $500 Million In Medicare Fraud Case," DENVER (CBS4), May 5, 2015.
  21. ^ a b Erik Lundegaard, "L. Lin Wood, Attorney for the Damned, Gets Out Front for Herman Cain," "The Super Lawyers," November 9, 2011
  22. ^ Kate Julian,"Is Herman Cain’s Lawyer the Anti-Gloria Allred?" Slate, Nov. 11, 2011.
  23. ^ Baker Botts, "Matt C. Wood," Archived 2014-01-01 at the Wayback Machine Matt C Wood", verified June 16, 2013
  24. ^ Macon Telegraph, "," Macon Telegraph", verified Feb. 22, 2016
  25. ^ "PoGo lawyer may represent Howard K. Stern". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Atlanta. April 11, 2007. Retrieved December 26, 2010.
  26. ^ Matera, Dary (2003). FBI's Ten Most Wanted: From James Earl Ray to Osama Bin Laden - The Chilling Stories Behind the FBI's Historic List of Notorious Criminals. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-052435-7.
  27. ^ Fisher, Jim (2008). Forensics under fire: are bad science and dueling experts corrupting criminal justice?. Rutgers University Press. p. 194. ISBN 978-0-8135-4271-3.
  28. ^ Henson, Steve (July 9, 2004). "Accuser Hires Libel Lawyer". Los Angeles Times: D10.