March 21, 2013

Kentucky Supreme Court Disbars Unethical Lawyer

Disgraced Stanley Chesley
Known by the dubious distinction of being the "godfather of the modern class-action lawsuits," Ohio-based attorney Stanley Chesley was disbarred by the Kentucky Supreme Court for his unethical behavior regarding exorbitant fees involving a settlement in the drug fen-phen case.

Chief Justice John D. Minton wrote this:

"While the good reputation he has enjoyed and his generosity serves to exacerbate the tragedy of his fall, they cannot atone for the serious misconduct he has committed in connection with this matter."

Chesley's practice will not directly affect his law license in Ohio, but a reciprocal agreement with Kentucky suggests it could cross state borders. Either way, the disgraced lawyer will struggle to keep his tarnished reputation from plummeting even further.

It is believed Chelsey may be removed from other cases around the country he is current lead attorney on.

The case in question which has resulted in Chelsey's Kentucky disbarment was that involving the victory of clients of the lawyer and his team against American Home Products, which produced fen-phen.

Of the $200 million awarded plaintiffs in a settlement, they only received $73.5 million of it, with the rest being distributed among lawyers; with $20 million of it going to Chesley. Together it was under 37 percent of the settlement dispersed to the victims.

Other Kentucky lawyers were convicted of scamming the over 400 clients represented in the case, which included Melbourne Mills, William Gallion and Shirley Cunningham. Gallion and Cunningham were specifically convicted in relationship to the case.

From the settlement, Gallion garnered almost $31 million; Mills close to $24 million; Cunningham $21 million; and Chesley over $20 million.

Chesley remains in denial, refusing to admit that his conduct in the situation was wrong.

The only reason Melbourne Mills Jr. escaped imprisonment was because he was considered too drunk during the time of the settlement negotiations to have knowledge of the conspiracy. Cunningham and Gallion received lengthy federal prison sentence as a consequence of their actions.

According to the Kentucky Bar Association, Chesley was not only responsible for unethical behavior concerning the fees charged to clients, but also for covering up the deal by assisting in the defense of his colleagues involved in the case.

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