L. Lin Wood has more than 39 years of experience as a trial lawyer focusing on civil litigation, representing individuals and corporations as plaintiffs or defendants in tort and business cases involving claims of significant damage, including False Claims Act cases. Mr. Wood also has extensive experience in First Amendment/defamation litigation and management of the media in high profile cases.
On behalf of his clients, Mr. Wood has made numerous national television and radio appearances, including appearances on NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ 60 Minutes and 60 Minutes II, Larry King Live, The Oprah Winfrey Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CBS’ The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning, MSNBC’s The Abrams Report, Imus in the Morning and Hardball, Court TV, and the CBS, NBC and ABC evening news programs. Mr. Wood was profiled in the cover article of the January 1998, issue of Atlanta magazine, on the July 12, 2000, broadcast of NBC’s The Today Show and in the cover article of the November 27, 2000, issue of Editor & Publisher magazine. Additionally, Mr. Wood was recognized as a Notable Georgian in the January 2002, issue of Georgia Trend magazine. Most recently, Mr. Wood was profiled in the cover article of the September 2015, issue of Attorney at Law Magazine.
Mr. Wood was recognized in the August 2004, and September 2005, Atlanta Business Chronicle list of Who’s Who in Law and has been recognized from 2005 to 2015 as a Georgia Super Lawyer in Law & Politics magazine and Atlanta magazine. Mr. Wood was recognized in 2006, 2007 and 2008 as one of The Top 100 Georgia Super Lawyers in Law & Politics magazine and Atlanta magazine and was the subject of a separate profile article in Law & Politics in 2006.
Mr. Wood is the subject of an article published in the Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal, entitled “Suing the News Media in the Age of Tabloid Journalism: L. Lin Wood and the Battle for Accountability”.
Mr. Wood has been the lead attorney in many national, high profile cases, including serving as:
- lead civil attorney for the late Richard Jewell in matters arising out of reporting about Mr. Jewell in connection with the 1996 bombing of Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta
- lead civil attorney for Jeff Greene in libel litigation against The St. Petersburg Times and The Miami Herald related to Mr. Greene’s 2010 campaign for the Democratic Nomination for the U.S. Senate from Florida
- lead civil attorney for Sheldon Adelson in New York libel litigation against the National Jewish Democratic Council
- attorney for Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain in defense of false accusation
- attorney for Dr. Phil McGraw in connection with false and defamatory articles published by Newsweek, the Daily Beast and the National Enquirer
- lead civil attorney in Whistleblower cases alleging Medicare fraud against DaVita, Inc. in federal court in Atlanta and against Halifax Hospital Medical Center in federal court in Florida
- lead civil attorney for Howard K. Stern in the prosecution and defense of defamation claims arising out of the death of Anna Nicole Smith
- lead trial counsel for The Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr., Inc. in connection with claims related to corporate governance
- lead attorney for John and the late Patsy Ramsey and their son in matters relating to the 1996 murder of JonBenet Ramsey in Boulder, Colorado
- attorney for Beth Holloway in matters relating to the media coverage ofthe May 2005 disappearance of her daughter, Natalee Holloway, in Aruba and in a pending civil action against the National Enquirer in federal court in Alabama
- attorney for Sharon Rocha in matters relating to the media coverage of the December 2002 murder of her daughter, Laci Peterson
- attorney for former U.S. Congressman Gary Condit in defamation matters relating to the May 2001 abduction and murder of Chandra Levy in Washington
- co-counsel for the victim in the civil actions in Colorado against Kobe Bryant
- lead counsel for AirTran Airlines, Inc. in defamation litigation against the Cleveland, Ohio newspaper, The Plain Dealer
- lead counsel for Esquire Deposition Services LLC in multi-state class actions dealing with billing practices
- lead trial counsel for the Estate of Anna Nicole Smith in federal action for misappropriation and theft of estate property
- lead trial attorney for Sun Trust Bank in litigation arising out of claims by trust beneficiaries related to an inheritance of Coca-Cola stock
- lead trial attorney for Phoebe Putney Health Care System and Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in the defense of 42 U.S.C. 1983 claims by a former staff physician
- lead trial attorney for NextGen Fuel, Inc. in the defense of claims alleging breach of contract and intellectual property infringement
“Free Speech Broadcasting,”John Ziegler and Leah Show, January 2017
“Pretrial Procedure; Motions and Discovery Issues,” ABA 11th National Institute on the Civil False Claims Act and Qui Tam Enforcement, Washington, DC, June 2016
“The Learning Leader,” LexisNexis Pod Cast, May 2016
“Inside the Legal Profession,” Mercer University, Macon, GA, February 2016
“Privilege Proposition: The Stakes Are Escalating,” HCAA Regional Conference, Atlanta, GA, January 2016
“Trial Practice Demonstration,” American Bar Association’s 2015 Annual Conference, Health Care Fraud, Miami, FL, May 2015
“False Claims Act Panel,” Health Care Compliance Association’s Regional Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA, January 2015
“How to Weave Your Trial Theme into the Entire Trial,” American Bar Association’s 2007 Annual Conference, Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, San Francisco, CA, August 2007
“The Crisis Case: Marketing the Client by Managing the Media,” Georgia Defense Lawyers Association’s 2007 Annual Meeting, Amelia Island, GA, June 2007
“High Profile Cases -High Profile Headaches,” Mississippi Bar Association’s Annual Meeting, Sandestin, FL, July 2007
“Not Guilty,” Poynter Ethics Fellows Reunion, St. Petersburg, FL, March 2007
“Legitimate Lawyer Expectations of the Presiding Judge in High Profile Cases,” ICLE Superior Court Judges Summer Conference, St. Simons, GA, July 2006
“Representing High Profile Victims of Flawed Investigations,” The National Crime Victim Bar Association Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., May 2006
“Public Relations in Product Liability Litigation: Crisis or Opportunity?”, Product Liability Seminar, ICLE, Atlanta, GA, April 2006
Mark Luchinsky Memorial Lecturer, The Schreyer Honors College & The College of Communications, Pennsylvania State University, January 2006
“Managing the Media,” 2005 Brintech Bank Executives Forum
“False Accusations from Flawed Investigation,” Successful Trial Practice, ICLE, November, 2005
“The New Media Era: It’s Impact on Reputation,” GA, October 2005
“Managing Public and Media Perception,” 2005 Brintech Bank Holding Company Idea Exchange, Reynolds Plantation, GA, September 2005
“David Taking on Goliath: Taking on the Media in the High Profile Case,” Successful Trial Practice, ICLE, February 2005
“Handling the High Profile Case,” Proving Damages, ICLE, March 2004
“Ethical Roles and Responsibilities of the Media,” 2002 Georgia Tech Executive Round Table Student Faculty Industry Conference, April 2002
“Libel: Pitfalls for the Unwary,” Successful Trial Practice, ICLE, January 2000
Inside John Ramsey’s CBS Lawsuit Over Brother-Killed-JonBenét Show
John Ramsey, father of JonBenét Ramsey, who was murdered in her Boulder home on Christmas Day 1996, has filed a $350 million lawsuit against CBS and assorted individuals associated with The Case of: JonBenét Ramsey, a 2016 docuseries in which a panel of experts concluded that Burke Ramsey, JonBenét's brother, killed his sister with a blow to the head. In an interview on view below, Atlanta-based attorney Lin Wood, who also represents Burke in a similar complaint filed late last year, maintains that the suit isn't specifically intended to prevent news organizations from making such claims in the future, but he's fine if it has that effect.
Class Counsel Announce Classes Certified in Federal Class Action Lawsuit Against DIRECTV Over Alleged Violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act
Two proposed plaintiff classes have been certified in a federal lawsuit against DIRECTV over allegations the company violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA") and related rules promulgated by the Federal Communications Commission by making unwanted telemarketing phone calls to consumers. The case is Cordoba v. DirecTV LLC, No. 1:15-CV-3755-MHC, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. Congress enacted the TCPA in 1991 to protect the privacy interests of residential telephone subscribers by placing restrictions on unsolicited, automated telephone calls to the home and to facilitate interstate commerce by restricting certain uses of automatic dialers. Later enhancements to the TCPA prohibit sellers from making phone solicitations to people who list their numbers on the National Do-Not-Call Registry and on federally-mandated seller and telemarketer “internal do-not-call lists.” When these procedures are not followed, each call made by a telemarketer constitutes a violation of the TCPA and FCC regulations, and any person who receives two or more such calls to a non-business number has the right to enjoin the violation and recover up to $500 in damages, or up to $1500 if the violations are willful.
JonBenét Ramsey Murder Claim Suit: Burke’s Lawyer Rips CBS’s Call to Dismiss
CBS has formally asked a court to dismiss a lawsuit filed on behalf of Burke Ramsey over a 2016 docuseries in which a team of analysts concluded that , in their Boulder home on Christmas Day 1996. In response, Ramsey family attorney Lin Wood summarily rejects the arguments made by CBS and Dr. Werner Spitz, a participant in the docuseries being sued separately for comments he made last September during a WWJ-AM/CBS Detroit interview publicizing the program.
Jon Benet Ramsey’s brother files $150M defamation lawsuit in Detroit (updated)
A new lawsuit involving the murder of Jon Benet Ramsey has made its way to Detroit. It's still an unsolved mystery that has captivated the country for years. Now the brother of Jon Benet is suing a forensic expert and CBS over a recent documentary - and the case is being heard right here in Detroit. Burke Ramsey, 30, is suing local yet world-renowned forensic pathologist Werner Spitz, accusing him of defamation in a $150 million dollar lawsuit. Ramsey's attorney Lin Wood noted his client has never been charged and was cleared by a grand jury, and won prior defamation lawsuits against tabloids that accused Burke of killing his sister.
Burke Ramsey v. CBS, et al.
Please click here to read the full Complaint.
Burke Ramsey, JonBenét’s brother, sues CBS in $750 million slander suit
The brother of JonBenét Ramsey has filed a lawsuit seeking $750 million against CBS Corp., saying the broadcast company produced a fraudulent documentary that slandered him by accusing him of striking and killing his sister with a flashlight in 1996. Burke Ramsey’s lawsuit was filed Wednesday in 3rd Circuit Court in Wayne County, Mich., by Atlanta attorney Lin Wood on Ramsey’s behalf. It claims CBS slandered him during a prime-time, four-hour documentary Sept. 18-19.
Inside Burke Ramsey’s Torment: Sadness, Suspicion and Civil Suits
L. Lin Wood, a lawyer for the Ramsey family, had previously told PEOPLE the lawsuit he’d be filing on Burke’s behalf “would be very detailed in setting forth the gross inaccuracies relied upon and broadcast by CBS. We’re not going to pull any punches.”
JonBenet Family Attorney: CBS Lawsuit Coming Soon, Expert Liable
Thus far, Burke Ramsey, brother of JonBenét Ramsey, who was murdered in her Boulder home on December 25, 1996, nearly twenty years ago, hasn't filed a promised lawsuit against CBS for a docuseries that essentially accused him of murder. But his attorney is shrugging off a dismissal motion from an expert on the program who's already been sued and says the CBS complaint is likely to be filed before year's end.
Burke Ramsey Lawsuit: JonBenet Family Lawyer Rips CBS Docuseries and More
Last week, Burke Ramsey, older brother of JonBenét Ramsey, who was murdered in her Boulder home on Christmas Day 1996, sued Dr. Werner Spitz, a Michigan-based forensic pathologist, for $150 million. The focus of the complaint was Dr. Spitz's assertion in a CBS Detroit interview flowing from the network docuseries The Case of: JonBenét Ramsey that Burke killed his sister nearly twenty years ago.
JonBenét Ramsey’s brother sues investigator for $150 million over allegations he killed his sister
Burke Ramsey is suing Dr. Werner Spitz, one of the investigators from CBS's recent JonBenét Ramsey documentary special, for defamation. According to court papers obtained by Business Insider, Burke is suing Spitz for stating that Burke killed his younger sister, JonBenét, during a radio interview with CBS Detroit — not for his participation in the televised CBS special.
Ramsey family attorney on possible CBS lawsuit
On Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, Yahoo News and Finance Anchor Bianna Golodryga talks with L. Lin Wood, the attorney for the Ramsey family, regarding the potential defamation lawsuit against CBS. The station’s two-part special on the murder of JonBenét Ramsey implicated her brother Burke as a prime suspect.
JonBenet Ramsey Family Lawyer: Why Burke Ramsey Suing CBS Over New Murder Claims
On Sunday and Monday, CBS aired a two-part documentary, The Case Of: JonBenet Ramsey, re-investigating the unsolved 1996 murder of the child beauty queen. In the program, a team of investigators posited that Ramsey was killed by her brother, Burke, then aged nine. In the wake of this dramatic conclusion, Ramsey family lawyer L. Lin Wood said he is suing CBS on Burke's behalf, arguing that the claims made against Burke are false and defamatory. In an opinion piece submitted to Newsweek, Wood explains why he and Burke are filing a lawsuit and why he feels the documentary was deceptive. CBS's response follows below.
Atlanta Lawyer Known for Tabloid Settlements Files Libel Suit on Behalf of Dr. Phil
Television psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Phil McGraw may be a bona fide celebrity, but his public figure status does not give tabloids carte blanche to smear him in print in order to sell newspapers, McGraw says in a $250 million lawsuit against the publisher of The National Enquirer and The Star. Atlanta libel attorney Lin Wood—who filed the defamation suit last week on behalf of McGraw and his wife, Robin, in Palm Beach County Circuit Court in Florida—says the Enquirer, the Star and other publications of Florida-based American Media Inc. knowingly printed “outrageous lies” about the McGraws, their marriage and their character, and that constitutional press freedom privileges offer “no safe harbor for publishing statements known to be false or manufactured by paid sources.”
‘Enough is enough. It’s time for them to own up!’ Dr. Phil McGraw lashes out at National Enquirer for its ‘lies’ about him and wife Robin as couple sues publisher for $250 million
TV shrink Dr. Phil has launched a $250 million lawsuit against the company behind the National Enquirer, claiming it has published more than 80 false stories about him and his wife over a 13-year period
'Enough is enough, it's time for them to own up.' Dr. Phil told Daily Mail Online in an exclusive interview.
'As a member of the media, I have a deep respect for the First Amendment. But it does not protect these people who knowingly print lies for money, particularly lies about my wife.’
And Dr. Phil's lawyer, L. Lin Wood, admitted he wants to see the ‘scoundrels’ who run American Media (AMI) — which publishes Radar Online and Star Magazine as will as the Enquirer — shut down so they can no longer spread ‘lies’ about celebrities.
‘If you ask me professionally, I would like nothing more than to see this company put out of business,’ Wood told Daily Mail Online on Sunday. ‘They serve no legitimate purpose in society.
Podcast: Lin Wood – One Of The Greatest Trial Lawyers In The World
Episode 139: Lin Wood – One Of The Greatest Trial Lawyers In The World Lin Wood has more than 38 years of experience as a trial lawyer focusing on civil litigation, representing individuals and corporations as plaintiffs or defendants in tort and business cases involving claims of significant damage, including False Claims Act cases. Mr. Wood also has extensive experience in First Amendment/defamation litigation and management of the media in high profile cases.
Florida Opens Probe Into How Orlando Shooter Mateen Got Gun License
Florida officials told NBC News that authorities are now investigating how Orlando shooter Omar Mateen passed his psychological test to become a security guard, after the doctor whose name appears on his application said she never evaluated him. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the state agency responsible for issuing gun permits, approved Mateen for a Class G firearms license after he passed a character certification. On Saturday NBC News reported that Dr. Carol Nudelman, the psychologist whose name appears on Mateen's gun permit, says she never administered or graded any psychological test for him. Mateen received his certification in 2007, but Nudelman said that by then she had already sold her practice and stopped conducting tests for Wackenhut, the security firm that hired Mateen.
Attorney disputes local woman evaluated Orlando shooter
The Snowmass Village woman named in a state of Florida record as having administered a psychological exam to the man who shot 49 people to death in Orlando has hired an attorney who says that record is false. The name of Carol Nudelman, a retired psychologist from Miami whose last name is now Blumberg, appears on a certification form on file with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ licensing division. The form is called a temporary class G license agency character certification. It verified, through a psychological test supposedly administered on Sept. 6, 2007, that Omar Mateen was mentally and emotionally stable enough to be able to carry concealed weapons.
CNN Investigation Into Pediatric Deaths Sparks 2nd Libel Suit
A libel suit against CNN stemming from its investigation of child deaths following cardiac surgery at a Florida hospital could turn into a battle over statistics. Attorneys for the former CEO of St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, say a faulty statistical analysis by CNN tainted its investigation titled "Secret Deaths: CNN Finds High Surgical Death Rate for Children at a Florida Hospital." The hospital's pediatric cardiac surgery program shut down and the hospital's CEO resigned as a result of the report.
Horse Whose Owners Sued USDA Wins Championship
Armed with a court order, a champion Tennessee Walking Horse barred from horse show competitions by government inspectors since 2013 last weekend entered—and won first place—in the Columbia Tennessee Spring Jubilee championship stakes, his owners' lawyer said. Honors, widely known as "the Secretariat of Tennessee Walking Horses," was "like Muhammad Ali," said Atlanta attorney Lin Wood, who represents horse owners Keith and Dan McSwain. "On Saturday night, he floated like a butterfly. He came back from government-imposed exile and returned a champion." Honors won the blue ribbon in the Championship Stakes at the Jubilee, one of the larger competitions for Tennessee Walkers.
Ruling Bars USDA Vets From Keeping Tennessee Walker Out Of Show Ring
The Georgia owners of a champion Tennessee Walking Horse disqualified from several major competitions are preparing the horse for future shows armed with a new ruling from a federal judge in Gainesville. U.S. District Judge Richard Story on Wednesday granted a preliminary injunction to Keith and Dan McSwain, the owners of Honors, known widely as "the Secretariat of Tennessee Walking Horses." Story issued the injunction in a suit challenging the U.S. Department of Agriculture's enforcement of a 45-year-old federal law intended to shield horses from intentional injury. The judge's injunction, for now, bars USDA veterinary inspectors from disqualifying Honors from future competitions without first holding a hearing at which the McSwains may challenge the grounds for disqualification. Story's ruling is limited to Honors. It does not extend to the Tennessee Walking Horse industry at large.
Trial Lawyer Lin Wood Gives $1M to Mercer Law
Trial lawyer L. Lin Wood has given $1 million to his alma mater, Mercer University law school. The school has started the L. Lin Wood Fund for the Enhancement of Mercer Law School, and it is naming its mock courtroom after Wood. The naming ceremony will be Feb. 26 at 10 a.m. "Mercer Law School provided me with an excellent foundation for the exercise of the privilege of engaging in the practice of law to zealously pursue justice. As a result, I have been privileged to represent many unique and worthwhile clients for more than 38 years," Wood said in an announcement.
$495 Million Settlement Announced in DaVita HealthCare Whistleblower Lawsuit
DaVita HealthCare Partners, based in Denver, Colorado, has announced that it will pay $495 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit. The company is accused of defrauding the federal Medicare and Medicaid programs of millions of dollars. The Denver Post reports that this is DaVita’s third whistleblower lawsuit since 2012, and the company’s payments now approach $1 billion.
Dialysis Company Says Settlement Will Cost $495 Million
The nation's largest kidney dialysis company has set aside $495 million, including $45 million for legal fees and costs, to settle an Atlanta whistleblower case, according to a report the company made Monday to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Halifax Hospital Strikes $1M Deal To End FCA Litigation
Halifax Hospital Medical Center and the U.S. Department of Justice have tentatively agreed to settle the remainder of a massive Medicare suit in Florida federal court accusing the hospital of falsely billing innumerable claims, according to court documents unsealed Friday. The federal government has agreed to accept a $1 million payment from Halifax to end a whistleblower False Claims Act suit alleging the hospital defrauded Medicare by admitting Medicare patients for needless overnight stays.
Attorney L. Lin Wood on Representing the Ramseys and Other High-Profile Individuals
John and Patsy Ramsey, Richard Jewell, and Gary Condit are names everyone has heard as they were all on trial in the court of public opinion. These cases were spread throughout the media and, even though there was never an arrest made in any, the public had judged the accused. L. Lin Wood was the lawyer representing these individuals as they fought for their reputations. An expert in First Amendment litigation and management of the media in high-profile cases, Wood has been referred to as “the attorney for the damned.” On this episode of The Paralegal Voice, Vicki Voisin has the opportunity to interview L. Lin Wood about the benefits and difficulties in representing high-profile individuals and how a paralegal can be most effective in these cases. Wood began his career in defamation cases when he represented Richard Jewell in the Centennial Olympic Park bombing case and has since represented the Ramseys, Gary Condit, attorney Howard Stern, and many others in whom the media took a particular interest. He describes how fighting against the media can be different than a regular plaintiff and how he protects his clients from public accusations. He explains that there are additional issues when dealing with a public figure including when to sue for slander and how to control what his clients say to the media. In terms of paralegals working in libel cases, there are three qualities Wood expects: acute knowledge about the case, understanding of the situation, and ability to keep track of a wealth of information coming from the media.
Halifax Health settles fraud case
Halifax Hospital agreed on Monday to pay a record-setting settlement in a whistle-blower lawsuit that alleged more than a decade of illegal kickbacks to physicians and Medicare fraud. Halifax and the U.S. Department of Justice reached the tentative agreement just as the jury trial was set to begin in Orlando federal court.
ESPN’s Richard Jewell documentary: The cost of attribution failure
The ESPN “30 for 30″ short “Judging Jewell” is an absolute must-watch for anyone even remotely involved with media. If you do nothing else this week to further your career in sports media, sit down and spend 21 minutes with this devastating documentary. You want to see the real-life consequences of simply failing to properly attribute facts and assertions? Watch the sad, infuriating story of Richard Jewell.
Panel Revives Jeff Greene’s Lawsuit Against Two Florida Newspapers
A once-dismissed libel lawsuit filed by former U.S. Senate candidate and billionaire Jeff Greene against The Miami Herald and The Tampa Bay Times was revived this week.
Dallas Lawyer Wins Motion to Dismiss Libel Lawsuit Against Him
Dallas lawyer Marc R. Stanley won a motion to dismiss a libel lawsuit filed against him and two co-defendants by Sheldon G. Adelson, the chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp.
Halifax Health facing $1 billion whistle-blower lawsuit
VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. —Volusia County's largest health care provider is facing an uncertain future Monday. The government is doubling the amount of damages it's asking for in a whistle-blower lawsuit. The lawsuit claims that Halifax Health ripped off taxpayers and may have put profits over patients' medical needs.
Attorney-Client Privilege ‘Bombshell’ Takes Center Stage in Halifax Stark Case
A federal judge on May 8 ordered Halifax Hospital Medical Center to turn over a legal memo on physician compensation to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and its whistleblower, saying it was not protected by attorney-client privilege because of the crime-fraud exception. The exception voids privilege when a client is engaged in or is about to engage in criminal or fraudulent conduct, and the attorney’s advice is used to further the crime or fraud.
Whistleblowers Say DaVita Abusing Doc Privilege in FCA Case
The relators in a False Claims Act suit accusing DaVita Inc. of creating waste to overbill Medicare told a Georgia federal court Monday that the dialysis service provider was abusing attorney-client privilege by labeling an excessive amount of communications as confidential. Alon J. Vainer and and Daniel D. Barbir asked the court to compel a score of communications between DaVita personnel and its attorneys, saying the company has obstructed the requests by unfairly invoking the attorney-client privilege. The relators blamed the alleged discovery obstinacy on a...
Whistle-Blowers Say Dalysis Firm Biliked Medicare
A case brought by two Georgia whistle-blowers asserts that one of the country’s top dialysis providers bilked Medicare of hundreds of millions of dollars by billing for medicine the company’s clinics often threw away. The lawsuit contends DaVita Inc. fraudulently boosted profits by intentionally using over-sized vials of the vitamin D supplement Zemplar and the iron drug Venofer, then discarding the unused portions. The company knew Medicare would pay for the unused drugs if the company deemed them to be necessary waste, the suit said. The suit was also filed against Gambro Healthcare Inc., which sold its dialysis clinics to DaVita in 2005. Lawyers for the two whistle-blowers — Atlanta kidney doctor Alan Vainer and Cummings nurse Daniel Barbir — estimate the companies fraudulently over-billed taxpayers by as much as $800 million from 2003 through 2010. The suit could result in one of the largest Medicaid fraud judgments in recent history if the whistle-blowers prevail on all their claims. da vita photo Bob Andres, firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. Alon Vainer (right) and Daniel Barbir, a Georgia doctor and nurse, respectively, are whistle-blowers in a federal case that seeks hundreds of millions of dollars in damages for the the U.S. government -- and millions of dollars for themselves -- in a massive false claims case. DaVita strongly denies the allegations and notes the U.S. government, after looking at the whistle-blowers’ case, declined to intervene as a party in the litigation. “Our clinical practices are and always have been developed in the best interest of our patients and caregivers,” company spokesman Skip Thurman said Tuesday. DaVita, headquartered in Denver, operates more than 1,900 outpatient dialysis clinics nationwide, serving about 150,000 patients. It is the nation’s second-largest kidney dialysis provider. Earlier this year, the whistle-blowers won an initial round of the litigation in federal court in Atlanta. U.S. District Judge Charles Pannell Jr. denied DaVita’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Barbir said he is eager for the case to get before a jury. “We’re looking forward to the day when the taxpayers will be rewarded,” said the 48-year-old nurse who now works for Emory University Hospital Midtown. The suit was filed under the False Claims Act, which requires any damages awarded by a jury to the whistle-blowers to be tripled. If found liable, DaVita also would be required to pay a penalty for each time it submitted a fraudulent claim for unnecessarily wasted drugs, said Atlanta lawyer Marlan Wilbanks, one of the whistle-blowers’ attorneys. “We have a basis to believe there are hundreds of thousands of false claims at issue, if not millions,” Wilbanks said. Dialysis providers are no longer allowed to bill for individual doses. In early 2011, Medicare instituted a so-called “bundled” reimbursement system that pays for the overall care provided to a patient. Under the False Claims Act, taxpayers would receive between 70 percent and 75 percent of any reward, with the rest going to the whistle-blowers. The U.S. share would increase up to 85 percent if the Justice Department intervenes and becomes a party in the case. The lawsuit, which was filed in 2007, remained under seal for more than three years while the government reviewed the claims. In April 2011, U.S. Attorney Sally Yates informed the parties that the government had declined to join the case. The Justice Department’s decision “should not be construed as a statement about the merits of the case,” Yates wrote, adding that the government retained the right to intervene at a later date. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has been keeping tabs on the litigation. But the whistle-blowers face a steeper climb without the government at their side. “It’s usually a pretty good indication the government doesn’t think it’s a strong case when it declines to intervene,” said Kent Alexander, the former U.S. Attorney in Atlanta who is now CARE USA’s general counsel. Earlier this year, DaVita settled a whistle-blower lawsuit in Texas for $55 million involving allegations the company overused the anemia drug Epogen. The government had declined to intervene in that case, noted Atlanta lawyer Lin Wood, who also represents the whistle-blowers. "We feel very confident about our case,” Wood said. “These people were committing fraud and they knew it. … They were wasting like crazy for years and years." Barbir was the nurse at a Gambro dialysis clinic in Cumming in 2004 when he said he noticed there was a big push by the company to increase its pharmaceutical revenue. “I thought, ‘Wait a second. What’s going on here?,’” Barbir said. “I thought, ‘Hmm. Waste. Why do I have to waste? Why do I have to throw so much stuff away?’” When he brought up the issue with management, he was told to follow orders or lose his job, said Barbir, who resigned from DaVita in 2006. Barbir later went to Vainer, 52, an independent contractor who served as the medical director of the Cumming clinic. Vainer said he eventually checked the company’s computer system, which tracked the amount of discarded drugs, and was astounded by what he saw. “Nothing made sense,” he said. “I saw a huge amount of waste.” Dialysis drugs are administered by drawing a measured amount from a vial into a syringe, then injecting that syringe into a patient’s IV port. The lawsuit alleges that the protocol for Zemplar allowed for only 2 mg vials of the vitamin D supplement to be used when the prescribed dose was 2 mg or less. But if the prescribed dose was 6 mg, for example, a 10 mg vial — not three 2 mg vials — was to be used, with 4 mg being wasted, the suit said. In court filings, DaVita said it had disclosed its dosing administration practices for Zemplar to the government and the government had no objection to it. With regard to the iron drug Venofer, for example, it came in only 100 mg vials until 2011 when its manufacturer began making it available in 50 mg vials. The lawsuit alleges that, for some patients who required 200 mg of Venofer per month, for example, DaVita’s protocol called for the drug to be administered twice a week in 25 mg doses. This meant each time a 25 mg dose was injected, the company billed Medicare for a 100 mg vial, with 75 mg being wasted, the suit said. The suit said if DaVita followed certain sterilization safeguards, the unused medication in the Venofer vials could be used for other patients. The company followed such procedures when using the far more expensive drug Epogen during much of the same time, the suit said. In a statement, DaVita acknowledged that such a practice — called re-entry — was allowed as an option to health-care providers by the government between 2002 and 2008. But since 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services have banned it. The agencies have warned that any potential cost savings from allowing multiple syringe draws from a single vial are outweighed by the possible risk of infection. DaVita said the whistle-blowers "in effect are asserting that they know better than the government and insist that DaVita had to engage in a practice that the government never required and now prohibits."
The 17-Day Diet: Dr. Phil’s Family Ties to Book He Touts
The packed audience on the Dr. Phil show is hungry for advice. It is four days after Thanksgiving 2010, not long before the next holiday season of heavy feasting is to begin. Phil McGraw, the folksy host, is dressed in a light gray double-breasted suit, impeccably tailored to fit his brawny 6-foot-4 frame. He stands behind a festive holiday table laden with desserts. “Bad news,” he warns the crowd as the hourlong show begins. “You could gain 12 pounds during the holidays. Twelve pounds!”
New-style scandal fixer helps Rick Perry, Herman Cain
The Huffington Post dispatched a reporter to Texas this summer to investigate rumors about Rick Perry’s personal life, hoping for an irresistible story about hypocrisy. Enter Lin Wood. Retained by Perry’s gubernatorial campaign committee, the acclaimed libel lawyer fired off a letter to the website in August, threatening to sue if the story ran – an aggressive response even for a candidate whose aides later admitted they entered Def Con 9 mode when long-circulating rumors began to swirl anew as Perry prepared to run for president.
Herman Cain Denies all Allegations, Hires Libel Lawyer, L. Lin Wood
Among numerous high profile cases, Lin Wood represented Richard Jewell. Jewell is the security guard who was falsely accused in the 1996 Atlanta Centennial Park pipe bomb incident. Jewell was later thoroughly exonerated. In fact, he was praised as a hero for assisting in finding the real perpetrator, Eric Rudolph. Jewell experienced horrid treatment at the hands of the media. Wood also negotiated a very large settlement against NBC, CNN and other media outlets for their defamation against Jewell.
Herman Cain’s lawyer blasts media at news conference
Herman Cain appears at a news conference alongside his lawyer, Atlanta-based L. Lin Wood, who has represented Richard Jewell and Rep. Gary Condit (D-Calif.), both falsely accused of wrongdoing.
Cain Hires Lawyer to Troubled Stars
The attorney who introduced embattled Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain at his press conference on Tuesday to deny sexual harassment allegations has a long history in legal media circuses.
Herman Cain’s Powerful Attorney: L. Lin Wood
When Herman Cain held the long-awaited news conference late Tuesday afternoon to tackle allegations that he sexually harassed four women, a smooth-talking Southern attorney was the first person to step to the microphone. Cain’s lawyer is L. Lin Wood, a well-known Atlanta-based trial attorney who has carved out a successful career representing the high-profile and falsely accused, often seeking eye-popping damages for those he believes have been libeled or slandered in the press. Former CBS news anchor Dan Rather once called Wood the “attorney for the damned.” When asked why he had chosen to represent Cain, Wood cited the media circus. “I have spent many years representing clients who have seen their reputations and lives destroyed by false accusations in the media,” Wood wrote in an e-mail message to The Post Tuesday evening. “I believe that Herman Cain has been unfairly put on trial in the court of public opinion based on reports from unknown or anonymous sources, rumor, speculation and inherently improbable statements by the most recent accuser.” With Wood’s hiring, Cain has a powerful ally on his side. A partner with Wood Hernacki & Evans LLC, Wood has a three-decade-long career prosecuting, and defending, celebrity clients, sometimes winning mega-settlements on their behalf. He is a fierce advocate....
An Aggressive and Passionate Defense: SunTrust Banks, Inc.
Ramseys’ Attorney Defends the Scorned
Suing the News Media in the Age of Tabloid Journalism: L. Lin Wood and the Battle for Accountability
The Case Against Kobe Bryant Unraveled in a Mock Trial
Fourteen months after she accused Kobe Bryant of raping her, a young Colorado woman sat on the witness stand testifying about the encounter, answering probing personal questions and trying to explain sketchy details. But the scene did not play out in this tiny mountain community, where the national media already were gathering to cover the trial.
Lawyer once dubbed ‘attorney for the damned’
DENVER -- The Kobe Bryant defense team that saw rape charges against the NBA star thrown out three weeks ago faces a tough new challenge in civil court: L. Lin Wood, a fearless, media-savvy Atlanta lawyer once called the "attorney for the damned." Wood is representing Bryant's 20-year-old accuser in a lawsuit in which the woman is seeking an unspecified amount of money, as well as public vindication.
High-profile lawyer negotiated dismissal of case for accuser
Just after 3 p.m., as reporters began streaming back into the Eagle County Justice Center on Wednesday, he appeared at the back entrance to the courthouse. There was L. Lin Wood, big-time attorney of notorious clients, dressed down in a navy jacket, crisp white shirt, pleated jeans and glossy deep-brown cowboy boots.
Federal Judge: ‘No Evidence’ That Ramseys Killed JonBenét
Through the prism of a defamation suit, a federal judge in Atlanta has examined the 1996 murder case of 6-year-old Colorado beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey and determined there is "virtually no evidence" to support theories that her parents killed her. U.S. District Judge Julie E. Carnes, a former federal prosecutor, ruled that there is "abundant evidence" to support assertions by JonBenét's parents, John B. and Patricia P. "Patsy" Ramsey, "that an intruder entered their home at some point during the night of Dec. 25, 1996, and killed their daughter." The Ramseys buried their daughter in Marietta, Ga., and now live in the Atlanta area.
FBI Fingers Richard Jewell As Bombing Suspect
In any high-profile federal investigation into a terrorist act, like the Sept. 11 attack on America, there are bound to be successes and failures. Some promising leads will pan out, but also some innocent people may be swept up in the dragnet. One American who knows all about that is Richard Jewell, who in 1996 was falsely accused of a terrorist act - setting off a bomb at the Atlanta Olympics.
“A Conversation with Lin Wood”, featured and quoted in Attorney at Law Magazine, September 2014
“The Case of David v. Goliath: Richard Jewell v. NBC and the Basics of Defamacast in Georgia,” Fordham Intellectual Property, Media and Entertainment Law Journal, 1997