Bad Lawyers

Disbarred Attorney Owes over $42 Million
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 Stan Chesley

Summary: Disbarred attorney Stan Chesley is responsible for paying back the $42 million kept from his plaintiffs in a settlement.

The Kentucky Court of Appeals upheld a ruling against disbarred attorney Stan Chesley of Indian Hill. The legal battle against Chesley began roughly 15 years ago, resulting in a $42 million civil judgment against him.


The judgment was handed out March 10, perpetuating a summary judgment from October 2014 by Boone County Circuit Judge James Schrand. The 2014 ruling was in regard to a 382 plaintiff lawsuit for those first harmed by fen-phen weight loss pills. Chesley and three other lawyers represented the plaintiffs in the 1990s but weaseled their way into a majority portion of the $200 million out-of-court legal settlement. When it came down to it, the lawyers kept $42 million more than they were allowed to.

Fen-phen was popular in the 90s as a diet supplement but the U.S. Food & Drug Administration removed it from the market. The diet drug had a potential for heart and lung problems, resulting in tens of thousands of lawsuits against the maker American Home Products.

The Boone County lawsuit was settled in 2001. From the $200 million settlement, the plaintiffs only received $73.3 million. The Court of Appeals stated that the four attorneys kept $106 million and placed another $20.5 million into a nonprofit that created to keep the money. The contingency fee agreement placed the limit the lawyers would receive at $60.8 million.

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Lexington, KY attorney Angela Ford represented the plaintiffs in 2004, filing a suit against the lawyers to recover the additional money they took. By 2013, Chesley had been disbarred by the Kentucky Supreme Court for his conduct in the case.

The Court of Appeals ruled that even though Chesley received $20.5 million and should have only received $12.8 million, he is still fully liable for the excess $42 million. The amount owed continues to grow with interest. Ford explained, “Because Chesley chose to fight his former clients for so many years, the interest owed is significant. The outstanding judgment, with interest, is now over $70 million.”

The plaintiffs are located throughout the country but the most are located in Kentucky so she is focusing her efforts in the Cincinnati federal court.

There is an arrest warrant out for his arrest after he failed to show at a show-cause hearing in 2015. The Hamilton County authorities refuse to serve the warrant and have prevented the Boone County Sheriff’s Department from serving it.

Do you think the plaintiffs will ever see a penny of the money they are owed? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about attorneys that stole money from a settlement, read these articles:



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