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It’s scumbags like this that give all us lawyers a bad rap

lawyerssuck.gif“Legal experts said the fraud might be one of the biggest and most brazen in legal history.” That’s quite a statement, right? Well check out what happened, and decide for yourself.

In 2001, a big lawsuit was settled with American Home Products Corporation, over its diet drug combination fen-phen. The company had been sued by 440 individuals claiming the drug had caused heart damage. There were three lawyers representing the 440 plaintiffs, and they brokered a total settlement for about $200 million. When the lawyers originally took the case, they took it on a contingent fee basis. As is typical in a situation like this, they agreed that they would only get money if they won the case and, specifically, they would get up to one-third of any money the plaintiffs got through settlement or trial verdict. Again, this is quite typical.

So that means the lawyers should have pocketed about $67 million, leaving $133 million for the clients. Instead, however, these scumbags kept $106 million for themselves, put another $20 million into a shady “charitable fund,” and only gave $74 million to the clients - almost half of what these 440 people were entitled to:

On average, plaintiffs received less than 40 percent of what the settlement agreement specified, instead of the roughly 70 percent to which they were entitled.

The lawyers lost in a civil lawsuit last year, brought by 413 of the 440 original clients, although there still has not been a ruling on just how much money the lawyers will have to hand over. And now there’s a federal grand jury looking into whether criminal charges should be thrown at these guys.

The lawyers, of course, claim that the extra money they took was totally reasonable. And they also claim that this extra amount was approved by the court, but get this - in a 2002 hearing, Judge Joseph F. Bamberger told the lawyers that they deserved greater compensation because the case was such a headache and because they took great risks in taking and fighting the case. But, the judge retired in 2004 and became the director of that new $20 million charity, pulling in a $5K monthly fee. So, you know, nothing fishy there at all (he’s already given back the money, and been reprimanded for these shenanigans). And of course, the lawyers’ “justifications” don’t explain their attempts to keep this all on the DL. For example, one client says that when he went to get his check, he was surprised to see it was for much less than he expected. When he mentioned this to the lawyers, they told him to shut up, and said they’d come after him if he mentioned it to anyone, or if he even mentioned how much his check was for. “You will be fined $100,000, you will go to jail and you will be sued,” he says they said.

I mean, talk about greedy sons of bitches. Three lawyers, $67 million. My math skills may be rusty, but I do believe that’s over $20 million per lawyer. I know that I’d be quite happy to pocket $20 million. In fact, that’s enough money to count as “fuck you” money, allowing me to retire, and live a peaceful life never again having to worry about other scumbag lawyers sullying the reputation of my profession.

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Comments

Wait, wait. You're telling me you think those lawyers were entitled to a scant 22,333,333.33 each?!

Is there any kind of fund set up where I can donate money to impoverished lawyers?