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Law Firm Not Liable for|Ex-Attorney’s Scheme

ST. LOUIS (CN) - The 8th Circuit declined to revive a man's final claim against law firm Lathrop & Gage over a former attorney's conduct.

James Helenthal hired Lathrop & Gage to represent his company, Tri-State Shopper in a 2001 antitrust lawsuit, and the firm assigned Charles Polk Jr. to handle the case.

Helenthal sued Polk and Polk's wife to recover $382,000 the lawyer solicited for a failed venture to obtain federal compensation for victims of the Oklahoma City bombing.

In 2006, Helenthal won $3.7 million against the Polks, while Lathrop & Gage, which had intervened in the case, was cleared of any liability in its attorney's scheme.

After various lawsuits Helenthal filed against Lathrop & Gage, the Philadelphia appeals court ruled not to reverse the dismissal of Helenthal's "final claim."

U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson had dismissed the Lathrop & Gage, finding that Polk was not acting in the firm's authority.In an unsigned decision Thursday, a panel of 8th Circuit judges upheld Jackson's ruling and ordered Helenthal to pay Lathrop & Gage's attorneys' costs.

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