Fen-Phen Attorneys Should Be Suspended, Says Kentucky Bar

August 22, 2006

Three Lexington, Kentucky lawyers involved in a massive fen-phen case should be temporarily suspended from practicing law because of how they appropriated their clients’ shares of a $200 million settlement, an attorney said Thursday.

Linda Gosnell, chief counsel for the Kentucky Bar Association, said the three attorneys improperly took more than their share of the settlement. The lawyers represented hundreds of clients in a lawsuit over the diet drug.

The Kentucky Supreme Court considered the matter Thursday morning.

The Kentucky bar association’s Inquiry Commission has recommended the temporary suspensions of Shirley Cunningham Jr., William Gallion and Melbourne Mills Jr.

Mills, who was in court Thursday, said the lawyers did not do anything “significantly wrong.” However, Mills said Kentucky should adopt new court rules for mass tort cases.

A lower court judge has already ruled that the lawyers breached their fiduciary duty by taking legal fees of more than half of the total settlement while telling clients their fees wouldn’t surpass about 30 percent.

The clients have sued the lawyers in Boone Circuit Court in northern Kentucky.

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