Fen-phen Lawyers Awarded $412M in Fees, Applauded for ‘Herculean Effort’
Posted Apr 10, 2008 9:00 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A federal judge has awarded $412 million in additional fees to lawyers who sued the maker of the fen-phen diet-drug on behalf of thousands of plaintiffs.
Chief U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III of Philadelphia awarded the fees for more than 578,000 hours of work that he called "nothing short of a herculean effort spanning almost a decade," the Legal Intelligencer reports. The fee award is in addition to $156 million in interim fees already awarded in 2002 to more than 70 law firms involved in the litigation.
Bartle said the amount of time spent on the litigation is the equivalent of 66 years of around-the-clock work.
The defendant, Wyeth, stopped making the diet drug in 1997 after reports it could cause heart-valve defects, the Associated Press reports. The 1999 settlement in the case was originally valued at $3.75 billion, but new reports put its value at $7.5 billion.