Fen-phen clients' attorney seeks ruling on money

bortiz@herald-leader.comFebruary 24, 2009 

A lawyer representing more than 400 former clients of three disbarred Lexington-area lawyers is asking the Kentucky Court of Appeals to order a circuit judge to rule on collecting the money owed to her clients.

A civil judgment of $42 million plus interest was entered in August 2007 against Shirley Cunningham Jr., William Gallion and Melbourne Mills Jr., who are accused of taking money that should have gone to their clients in the $200 million settlement of a diet drug lawsuit.

In March 2008, lawyer Angela Ford, who represents the former clients, filed a motion to seize the assets of limited liability companies that she says are controlled by relatives of the three lawyers.

In the filing with the Court of Appeals on Friday, Ford said the lawyers are using the companies to shield their assets and stymie collection efforts.

Senior Judge Roger Crittenden has not issued a written ruling on the matter, Ford wrote.

Ford also wants Crittenden to rule on garnishing attorney's fees for the three lawyers' civil attorneys. The court filing says the three lawyers have paid their civil and criminal attorneys at least $2.2 million since the 2007 judgment, including $1.6 million paid to their lead civil attorney days after the judgment was entered.

Ford wrote that she wants a final ruling so she can proceed with collection or file an appeal.

A second criminal trial began last week in U.S. District Court in Frankfort against Cunningham and Gallion, who are charged with conspiracy and wire fraud. Federal prosecutors will continue their case this week.

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