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Legal Ethics

Shackled Fen-Phen Lawyers Seek Release, Judge Says No

Posted Sep 11, 2007 3:10 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Shackled and attired in faded gray-and-white-striped jail uniforms, three personal injury attorneys involved in mega-bucks fen-phen litigation attended a federal court hearing in Kentucky today to seek their release.

Accused of bilking clients out of $64 million from a $200 million litigation settlement in 2001 concerning the diet drug combination, Shirley Cunningham Jr., William Gallion and Melbourne Mills were jailed last month by U.S. District Judge William O. Bertelsman. The three sought—and received—a postponement of their federal fraud trial until January. The judge says they pose a flight risk if released, although witnesses disputed this at a hearing that began yesterday, according to reports by the Cincinnati Post and the Louisville Courier-Journal about the Eastern District of Kentucky case.

At the hearing's conclusion today, Bertelsman ruled that the three attorneys will remain in jail in Boone County until they complete a detailed accounting of what money they received from the fen-phen settlement and where it went, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.

"They look good in stripes," Elaine Simmons, who attended the hearing, told the Post. The Frankfort resident is one of hundreds of former clients who have reportedly sued the lawyers.

Additional details about the case are provided in an earlier ABAJournal.com post.

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