Well, according to the Courier Journal, William (Bill) Gallion is the first of the three fen phen lawyers to take the stand to try to defend their actions in the federal criminal action. According to the article, Mr. Gallion has justified the actions of the lawyers in taking more in fee than their contracts entitled them to because clients who may have gotten nothing in the national case, collected as much as $1.4million. "I thought that was a great result," Gallion said. All three lawyers already have been sued for breach of fiduciary duty and legal malpractice and lost a $40 million verdict.
Gallion also attempted to defend the lawyer's decision to divide the client's money without using a neutral third-party (as required by ethics rules) because, ""We wanted to use our own knowledge." He went on to explain that it would have taken too long to get a third party up to speed on the facts of each individual case.
Hogwash. I was personally involved in the settlement of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville settlement in Louisville, Kentucky where we represented over 240 individual plaintiffs in a $25.7 million class action settlement. We hired a neutral third party, Matthew Garretson, to review and analyze each individual's damage claim. Matt reviewed the depositions (of those that had been deposed), as well as their interrogatory responses (answers to written questions asked by the Diocese's attorneys), our client notes on each individual plaintiff, and any additional written damage materal or medical records in our possession (or later supplied by our client) as well as voluntary video damage statements made by clients. Once Matt came up with his damage award for each individual plaintiff, the client could accept the award or "appeal" the award. We hired retired Kentucky Supreme Court Judge Nick King to act as the "appellate judge" to hear any challenges to Matt's initial damage award. Judge King then review all the materials and any additional materials supplied by the client, including an interview if necessary and he could confirm, increase, or decrease the award as he saw fit.
I think the entire process of damage allocation by Matt and Judge King took two months. It was honest, ethical, effect, and quick.
So what's their real excuse?