Posted by Susan J. Levy
Case Caption: Bryant, in his capacity as Executor of the Estate of Richard Jewell v. Cox Enterprise, Inc. d/b/a The Atlanta Journal Constitution, et al., 2011 Ga. App. Lexis 662 Court: Georgia Court of Appeals Plaintiff’s Attorneys: L. Lin Wood, Jr., Wood, Hernacki & Evans, LLC Defendant’s Attorneys: Peter Canfield, Dow Lohnes
Alleged Damages: Libel Ruling: Georgia Court of Appeals Affirmed Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment Date: July 13, 2011
Summary: Fifteen years after the Centennial Olympic Park bombing stunned Atlanta and disrupted the 1996 Olympic festivities, the libel suit brought by the Estate of Richard Jewell against the Atlanta Journal Constitution continues its journey through Georgia courts. On July 13, 2011, the Georgia Court of Appeals ruled against Mr. Jewell’s Estate and affirmed the AJC’s motion for summary judgment on the libel claims initiated by Mr. Jewell before his death in 2007.
The facts underlying this case are now undisputed. In the early morning hours of July 27, 1996, Richard Jewell was working in Centennial Olympic Park as a private security guard, when he noticed a knapsack under a park bench and alerted the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. While Jewell and other law enforcement officers were evacuating people from the area, the bomb exploded, killing two and wounding over 100. Jewell was originally hailed as a hero, but soon became a suspect in the bombing. The AJC published an article entitled, “FBI suspects ‘hero’ guard may have planted bomb,” identified Jewell as the focus of the federal investigation, claimed Jewell fit the profile of a lone bomber, and compared him to Wayne Williams, the notorious convicted child murderer. Ultimately, Jewell was exonerated and Eric Rudolph admitted to the bombing.