Three attorneys have been temporarily suspended from practicing law in Kentucky because of questions about the way they divided a $200 million settlement from a fen-phen lawsuit.
The Kentucky Supreme Court took the action in written rulings released last Thursday.
In an order signed by Deputy Chief Justice Will T. Scott, justices said they found probable cause to believe that the attorneys had diverted funds to their own use.
Linda Gosnell, chief counsel for the Kentucky Bar Association, had argued before the Supreme Court last week that the attorneys — William Gallion, Shirley Cunningham Jr. and Melbourne Mills — improperly took more than their share of the settlement. The lawyers, all from Lexington, represented hundreds of clients in a lawsuit over the diet drug.
“Their conduct was drastic,” Gosnell told the court. “This is a case of absolute, unbridled greed.”
The Kentucky Bar Association’s Inquiry Commission had recommended the temporary suspensions.
Supreme Court Justice Joseph Lambert recused himself from hearing the case.
A lower court judge had previously found that the attorneys in the diet-drug case breached their duty to the more than 400 clients they represented. The clients have sued the lawyers in Boone County Circuit Court in northern Kentucky.