Kentucky Supreme Court to Hear New Arguments in Fen Phen Case
The Kentucky Supreme Court has announced it will hear arguments from a group of plaintiffs who argue that the judgment in their fen phen litigation should be reinstated.
The court announced the decision last week although there has been no official statement as to why the plaintiffs were granted the opportunity to present new arguments. The case involves former clients of three Kentucky attorneys who represented the plaintiffs in their original claim against fen phen’s manufacturer, American Home Products. The attorneys, William Gallion, Shirley Cunningham and Melbourne Mills, were accused of mishandling settlement funds and have since been disbarred.
The plaintiffs originally filed suit after it was revealed that the diet drug fen phen, which includes both fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine, was linked to an increased rate of heart valve defects and other heart conditions, including primary pulmonary hypertension or PPH. PPH is a condition in which the pulmonary arteries narrow, which reduces blood flow and limits the amount of oxygen that reaches the lungs. There is no way to reverse this condition and it can often result in death if left untreated.
The plaintiffs originally received a $200 million judgment. However, an investigation into the case found that attorneys Gallion, Cunningham and Mills kept $126 million for themselves and took another $20 million in “excess funds.” The men divided the remaining $74,194,577 among their 431 clients, who were never made aware of the actual amount of the settlement.
In 2007, the plaintiffs in the case filed a civil action against the three attorneys and were awarded an additional $42 million. In February 2011, the Kentucky Court of Appeals overturned that decision. The case will now be presented to the Kentucky Supreme Court, which will determine whether the plaintiffs are entitled to any additional settlement monies.
In 2009, both Cunningham and Gallion were sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for bilking their clients out of their rightful share of the settlement money. Mills was acquitted of all charges. David Helmers, another attorney who worked for Gallion’s law firm, was also recently disbarred in connection with the case.
Fen Phen was finally recalled from the market in 2007, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration determined that the drug’s risks far outweighed its benefits. This was due largely in part to a number of research studies which suggested that the risk of developing PPH was as much as 2300 percent higher among individuals who took fen phen for three months or longer.
If you or a loved one took the diet drug fen phen and have since developed primary pulmonary hypertension or another serious heart condition, you may have grounds for a product liability claim. You need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney right away to discuss your case.
The law firm of Nadrich & Cohen LLP specializes in representing fen phen users in all 50 states in proving their injury claims. Call our Injury Hotline today at 1-800-722-0765 to schedule your free initial case evaluation. All cases are accepted on a contingency basis, meaning there is never a fee unless we recover a judgment on your behalf.