July 3, 2008

Mistrial in Ky. Fen-Phen Lawyers’ Case

A federal judge declared a mistrial Thursday in the trial of two lawyers accused of taking too much money out of Kentucky's $200 million fen-phen lawsuit settlement.

Senior U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman declared the mistrial after the deadlocked jury failed to reach a verdict in the cases against Lexington attorneys Shirley Cunningham and William Gallion.

The same jury Tuesday had acquitted a third defendant, Melbourne Mills, on charges they defrauded their clients by taking $65 million more out of the settlement than they were entitled to.

The Louisville Courier-Journal said federal prosecutors vowed to re-try Gallion and Cunningham, who remain in custody as flight risks.

The $200 million settlement was agreed to in 2001 on behalf of Kentucky residents who claimed their health had been damaged by the two-combination diet drug.