04/02/2009 12:00AM

Lien placed on Einstein purse


A group of plaintiffs who have been awarded a $42 million civil judgment against the owners of Einstein have placed a lien on the 7-year-old horse's earnings from the March 7 Santa Anita Handicap at Santa Anita Park in Southern California, according to reports.

As a result of the lien, Santa Anita has not distributed the $600,000 winner's share of the purse and will likely deposit the money into an escrow account until the legal matters surrounding the lien are resolved, according to Santa Anita's litigation counsel, Richard Specter, who was quoted in an article on the Blood-Horse magazine's website.

Einstein is owned by Shirley Cunningham Jr. and William Gallion, two Lexington, Ky., lawyers who are currently on trial in Kentucky on criminal charges that they misappropriated money from a $200 million settlement with the manufacturer of the diet-drug combination fen-phen in 2001.

The 400 plaintiffs in that settlement sued Gallion, Cunningham, and a third lawyer in civil court in 2007 and were awarded the $42 million judgment, but efforts to recover the money have been stalled by the ongoing criminal case against Gallion and Cunningham, including a mistrial declared last year. The jury is currently deliberating in the second criminal trial, and is expected to issue a verdict within the next several days.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs and lawyers did not return phone calls on Thursday.