Curlin's Owners Have Bigger Issues at Hand Following Preakness

11/17/2008 | Legal Malpractice

Well, the Preakness just finished and we'll have to wait another year for a Triple Crown winner. And, while Curlin is certainly a great horse, his owners have some major problems. Two of Curlin's owners are former Lexington attorneys William Gallion and Shirley Cunningham. Anyone who follows this site knows about their major legal problems. You can read about the allegations here.

Here is a story that was posted on USAToday that was later removed:

Curlin's owners in diet-drug dispute Associated Press Posted: 10 days ago LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Without putting down a bet, more than 400 people believe they have a financial stake in how Kentucky Derby favorite Curlin performs in Saturday's race. The group alleges that two of Curlin's owners, attorneys William Gallion and Shirley Cunningham Jr., pocketed millions that plaintiffs were due as part of a $200 million settlement over the diet drug fen-phen. As plaintiff W.L. Carter sees it, money that should have gone to care for one-time fen-phen users went instead to the attorneys, who purchased the strapping chestnut colt. "My name may not be on the bill of sale, but I feel like I helped pay for that sucker," Carter, of Lawrenceburg, said Thursday. A judge in northern Kentucky ruled that Gallion, Cunningham and another lawyer breached their duty to clients, who claimed the attorneys paid themselves an extra $64 million from the 2001 settlement. The plaintiffs had sued the drug maker American Home Products, claiming the diet drug caused health problems. They ended up with $74 million. The three lawyers denied wrongdoing in response to being sued by ex-clients, but have been temporarily suspended from practicing law. Gallion and Cunningham's Midnight Cry Stable, which bought Curlin for $57,000 as a yearling, sold controlling interest in the horse in February for $3.5 million to a group that includes California vinter Jess Jackson. Midnight Cry Stable retained a minority share in the horse. Gallion said he hadn't given any thought to whether future legal developments could claim his potential Derby profits. "Those are two separate issues," he said in a telephone interview. "This whole thing is about the horse, it's not about me." The plaintiffs are awaiting a ruling by a judge on the amount the attorneys will have to pay them. Curlin didn't compete as a 2-year-old but has won all three of his career races by a combined 28 lengths, including a record 10 1/2-length victory in the Arkansas Derby last month. The colt, already with more than $800,000 in winnings, would skyrocket in value as a Derby champion. This year's winner will collect a $1.45 million purse — with more possible for a runaway win. Fast-food company Yum Brands Inc. has offered a $1 million bonus for a victory by more than 6 1/2 lengths — the margin of Barbaro's Derby win last year. Curlin also would command high stud fees once his racing days are over. Gallion said he hoped to be in the winner's circle with other owners if Curlin wins. Asked about having a Derby favorite, he replied, "It's exciting — everybody's lifetime dream come true." Carter, one of the plaintiffs, said it would be upsetting to see Gallion and Cunningham in the winner's circle. Still, he'll tell friends at a Derby party Saturday that he considers himself a stakeholder in the horse and will be cheering him on. "If it wins, it may help us recover part of what's owed us," he said.