Friday, June 13, 2008

DIET DRUG TRIAL: "No order to destroy files, Gallion says" from Herald Leader

More on diet drug trial in Lexington's Herald Leader.  Click on heading for entire story online.

A lawyer accused of taking millions of dollars that should have gone to his former clients in a class-action settlement testified Thursday that an associate was mistaken when she testified that he instructed her to destroy documents related to the settlement.

DIET DRUG TRIAL: "Defendant says government withholding evidence" from Herald Leader

One of the defendants in a diet drug fraud trial was expected to be on the witness stand again Friday in Covington.  On Thursday, defendant William Gallion accused federal prosecutors of withholding evidence in the case against him and fellow attorneys Melbourne Mills Jr. and Shirley Cunningham Jr. click on heading for entire story.

DIET DRUG TRIAL: "Fen-phen attorney admits 'ex parte' contact with judge" from Courier Journal

Defendant attorney William Gallion testified today that in 2001, he met with the judge who was presiding over Kentucky's fen-phen case, without the other side's attorney being present.

DIET DRUG TRIAL: "Lawyer defends payments in diet-drug case" fro Courier Journal

Testifying yesterday in his own defense, suspended lawyer William Gallion argued that Kentucky fen-phen clients received far more lucrative settlements through their lawyers -- who now are charged with fraud -- than they would have under a national class-action suit.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

DIET DRUG TRIAL: "Chesley could soon testify"

From Northern Kentucky newspaper:

A federal jury hearing the fen-phen case may finally hear what Stan Chesley has to say about allegations of involvement in the plundering of the $200 million settlement.

UK Football: 3-judge panel upholds tossing of Bassett's suit

Some stories don't go away, and here is a legal postscript from the UK Football recruiting scandal from years ago and the Hal Mumme and Claude Basset era as the Sixth Circuit dismisses Claude's case:

A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court's decision to dismiss all claims brought by a former University of Kentucky football coach at the center of the program's 2002 sanctions.

DIET DRUG TRIAL: "Witness in fen-phen case says rules required secrecy" FROM HERALD LEADER

The Diet Drug fraud trial of Cunningham, Gallion, and Mills continues with the following from the Herald Leader.  Click on title for complete story:

Three lawyers accused of taking more than $65 million from their former clients could not give their clients details about a 2001 diet drug settlement because it would have violated a confidentiality clause, an expert in class-action litigation testified Monday.

Continue reading "DIET DRUG TRIAL: "Witness in fen-phen case says rules required secrecy" FROM HERALD LEADER" »

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

DIET DRUG TRIAL: "Jurors: Parties in Ky. fraud case eavesdropping"

From the Herald Leader is an odd story of claims of juror stalking and eavesdropping:

A federal judge threatened to charge lawyers and witnesses in a high-profile fraud trial with contempt of court on Tuesday after jurors said they thought parties in the case were following them and eavesdropping.

The case has been closely followed in Kentucky and the horse racing industry because two of the defendants' part-ownership of 2007's Horse of the Year, Curlin.

U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman told attorneys they should stay away from jurors during recesses from the trial of three lawyers accused of defrauding clients out of $60 million of a diet-drug settlement.

"If someone is doing this, they will find themselves in real trouble," Bertelsman said.

Defense attorneys, federal prosecutors and an attorney for plaintiffs in a related civil case told the judge that any contact with jurors outside the courtroom on lunch breaks was inadvertent.

COMAIR CRASH: Comair victims' families can seek punitive damages" (copy of order included)

Judge Forester has ruled that the families in the Comair Bluegrass Airport jet crash case can seek punitive damages from the airline.

Here is the order from June 6, 2008.

Here is the Courier Journal story.  Click on heading for entire story.

Comair victims' families can seek punitive damages

In a victory for the plaintiffs, a federal judge has ruled that the families of those killed aboard Comair Flight 5191 may seek punitive damages in a trial set for Aug. 4. In an order made public today, U.S. District Judge Karl Forester said there was enough evidence to allow a jury to decide if the airline's management was responsible for the Aug. 27, 2006, crash that killed 49 people at Lexington's Blue Grass Airport. David Royce, liaison counsel for the plaintiffs, said the ruling "provides an opportunity for the community to send a message about the conduct in this case." A spokeswoman for Comair, which vigorously opposed the ruling, did not respond to calls and pages. Comair admitted that its pilots made mistakes in taking off from the wrong runway, but said it should not be subject to punitive damages because it did not "authorize or ratify" their conduct. But Forester said the plaintiffs had produced sufficient evidence that Comair's training and policies were negligent to allow a jury to consider such damages. The National Transportation Safety Board ruled that pilot error was the principal cause of the crash, which occurred seconds after the Comair jet tried to take off from the wrong runway, one too short for jetliners.

Monday, June 09, 2008

DIET DRUG TRIAL: Lawyer William Gallion testifies

Fen-phen lawyer testifies from HERALD LEADER; click on heading for entire story
William Gallion admitted Friday that he never told a judge in a controversial $200 million fen-phen settlement that he had contracts with his clients that would limit his fees to roughly 30 percent of the settlement.

Gallion told a jury in federal court in Covington that he did not think that he had to tell then Boone Circuit Court Judge Joseph "Jay" Bamberger that he had contracts with his clients because it is impossible in the state of Kentucky to represent clients without a written contract. Bamberger, as a judge and an attorney, would have known that, Gallion said.

Gallion, Shirley Cunningham Jr. and Melbourne Mills Jr. are accused of taking approximately $65 million of a 2001 Boone Circuit Court fen-phen settlement. The three have been charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. If convicted, the three could receive a maximum of 20 years in prison. Because the federal sentencing guidelines are no longer mandatory, it is unlikely that they would receive the maximum sentence.

Bamberger had testified earlier in the trial -- now in its fourth week -- that he didn't know that the attorneys had contracts with their clients and would not have approved the attorney fees of roughly 50 percent if he had known that the contingency fee contracts for the lawyers were roughly 30 percent of the total settlement. Instead, the lawyers on the case received the bulk of the $200 million settlement; the 440 clients received $74 million.

"I did not ever say to Judge Bamberger, 'I have written contracts with my clients,'" Gallion said.

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