Saturday, October 26, 2013

Fungible Commodity Clients Sue Too Late

The Kentucky Supreme Court has affirmed on statute of limitations grounds the dismissal of claims of fraud, misepesentation  and breach of fiduciary duty brought against attorneys involved in the litigation of Fen-Phen claims.

The court's opinion describes how "50 plaintiffs in Kentucky with Kentucky attorneys could end up in an Alabama court case represented by law firms in Mississippi and Alabama."

The 50 were a group of plaintiffs in  Kentucky case that had what their Kentucky attorneys felt were "low value" claims.

They were sold off without their knowledge (and with a cut of the fee) to other law firms in an Alabama case that needed them because of a requirement that they certify within a given time frame that  a minimum number of the claimants that they represented were willing to participate in a settlement.

The plaintiffs got no individualized consideration of their claims; rather, they were treated as "fungible commodities." They each got a settlement check for $29,500 of a $72,000 settlement but were left in the dark over the amount and distribution of the proceeds.

Suffice it to say that the lawyers divided up the rest.

The matter came to light when a lawyer  conducted an investigation that peeled back the Fen-Phen litigation onion and found that the clients were supposed to have received slightly less than $48,000.

That discovery triggered the start of the statute of limitations.

Here, the court held that Kentucky statute of limitations law applied (not Alabama, as the Circuit Court had held) but that the suit was nonetheless filed too late. (Mike Frisch)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2013/10/the-kentucky-supreme-court-has-affirmed-on-statute-of-limitations-grounds-the-dismissal-of-claims-of-of-fraud-and-breach-of-f.html

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