Fen-Phen Lawyers Run Off With $126 Million of $200 Million Settlement

When people tell us why they like the Consumerist, they often mention the distinct lack of lawyers. (Sorry Sam, nothing personal.) We imagine stories like this one have something to do with it. From the New York Times:

W. L. Carter knew there was something fishy going on when he went to his lawyers’ office a few years ago to pick up his settlement check for the heart damage he had sustained from taking the diet drug combination fen-phen.

W. L. Carter, a fen-phen plaintiff, said he was angry about how he had been treated. “The greed got the best of them,” he said of his lawyers.

The check was, for starters, much smaller than he had expected. And his own lawyers threatened to retaliate against him if he ever told anyone, including his family, how much he had been paid. “You will be fined $100,000, you will go to jail and you will be sued,” Mr. Carter recalled them saying.

Mr. Carter was right to have been suspicious. The lawyers defrauded their clients, a state judge has ruled in a civil case, when they settled fen-phen lawsuits on behalf of 440 of them for $200 million but kept the bulk of the money for themselves.

Yes, you will go to jail if you tell anyone that your lawyer is stealing your money. That’s the best they could think of? They should see if that RIAA law firm is hiring. We hear there are still a few more college students left to threaten, and they’re no doubt looking for a few good men.—MEGHANN MARCO

Fraud Inquiry Looks At Diet-Drug Case [New York Times]