Lawyers’ Fight Over Fen-Phen Fees Near End

Two lawyers who have been involved in an arbitration and federal court battle over fees from Fen-Phen cases appear to be at the end of the litigation road.

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld an arbitration award of over $8 million dollars, finding that one lawyer breached a written agreement to refer Fen-Phen cases to the other.  The referring lawyer kept some cases for himself and referred some cases to another lawyer.  

The decision in Abbott v. Law Office of Patrick J. MulliganNo. 10-4113 (10th Cir. Sept. 21, 2011), has little to offer us from a legal standpoint except to remind us how difficult it is to overturn an arbitration award on appeal.  

From a practical standpoint, however, it reminds us that wherever significant money is involved there is bound to be litigation fall-out.   Fen-Phen caused injuries and death to many, many people, but the Fen-Phen litigation itself had its own consequences.  Two Kentucky lawyers were sentenced to prison.  One Ohio lawyer was disbarred in Kentucky.  A Mississippi lawyer went to prison.  A little one doctor was charged with fraud.

Sad.  Very, very sad.