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Afternoon Briefs: Once-high-profile lawyer disbarred; prescription diet cat food lawsuit reinstated

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Lawyer who represented Oklahoma City bomber is disbarred

A Colorado lawyer who once represented Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh has been disbarred at age 77. Dennis Hartley’s misconduct included converting client funds, disobeying a prior suspension order and failing to report drunken driving and impaired driving convictions. A lawyer who knew Hartley said that, at one time, he was a well-respected criminal defense lawyer who was “gutsy and hard-charging.” (The Associated Press citing the Colorado Springs Gazette, disbarment order)

7th Circuit reinstates suit over prescription diet cat food

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Chicago has reinstated a lawsuit claiming the maker of Hill’s Pet Nutrition’s Prescription Diet cat food violated Illinois consumer fraud law. The suit contended that the company failed to disclose that the pet food didn’t really require a prescription and wasn’t materially different than other pet food. The plaintiffs had used a veterinarian’s prescription to buy the cat food at PetSmart. (Law360, Courthouse News Service, Aug. 20 decision)

Epstein trust could make accusers’ financial recovery more difficult

Sexual assault accusers may find it difficult to recover money from the trust created by Jeffrey Epstein just two days before he died by suicide. Epstein signed a will transferring more than $577 million in assets into the trust that shields his beneficiaries from public disclosure. (The Associated Press)

US seeks lawyer’s annuity after guilty plea

Federal prosecutors are seeking forfeiture of an annuity belonging to a former town justice in New York who admitted helping steal more than $11.8 million from estate assets he helped oversee. The government contends that the Allianz Life Insurance Co. annuity policy held by lawyer Richard Sherwood of Albany was purchased with stolen funds. A second lawyer, Thomas Lagan of Cooperstown, New York, also pleaded guilty in the scheme earlier this month. (Law360,, forfeiture complaint)

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