August 29, 2013
The Courier Journal reported the Supreme Court verdict in the Fen Phen civil trial. They upheld the summary judgment of Special Judge Weir and remanded on some issues. They upheld the venue of the civil case being in Boone Circuit court.
The Courier-Journal reported:
“The Kentucky Supreme Court Thursday reinstated a $42 million fen-phen judgment won by 440 plaintiffs defrauded by Lexington attorneys Shirley Cunningham Jr., William Gallion and Melbourne Mills Jr.
The Court of Appeals in 2011 had thrown out the judgment in the high-profile diet-drug case, saying that a judge should have held a trial before ruling that the attorneys, who have since been disbarred, breached their duties by plundering the $200 million settlement with the manufacturer of fen-phen, which was found to cause heart valve damage and withdrawn from the market.
The appeals court held that a trial was required because an affidavit defending the lawyers from Kenneth Feinberg, an expert on mass torts litigation, created enough of a factual dispute over whether the attorneys took an excessive fee and committed other violations. But ruling 6-0, the state Supreme Court said the affidavit concerned a matter of law, not fact, and thus didn’t require a trial.”
“Angela Ford, who represented most of the clients in a suit against the former lawyers, said the opinion offers “finality” on most of the claims pending for nine years against Gallion, Cunningham and Mills. She said it also clears the way for a trial against ex-Cincinnati lawyer Stan Chesley, who negotiated the settlement and was disbarred earlier this year for taking $7.6 million more in fees than he was owed.”
“The Supreme Court upheld lower court decisions that a judgment could not be issued against Chesley without a trial.” “Sheryl Snyder, one of Chesley’s lawyers, said he was pleased the court recognized that Chesley’s role was far different than the Lexington lawyers. He said he is confident that the disposition of the suit against Chesley him will reflect that.”

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