Judge: Disbarred attorney Stanley Chesley owes $42 million to former clients in diet drug case

A Kentucky judge has ordered a once-prominent and now disbarred class-action attorney to pay $42 million to settle allegations he improperly took too much money in a diet drug lawsuit.

The ruling from Boone County Circuit Judge James P. Schrand comes 17 months after the Kentucky Supreme Court found that Stanley Chesley of Cincinnati engaged in unethical conduct in the settlement of a $200 million lawsuit involving the makers of the diet drug fen-phen.

Chesley, once dubbed the "Master of Disaster," was ordered to repay more than 380 clients.

Chesley, 78, took more than $20 million in attorney's fees from the settlement, which exceeded the amount established by his client contracts and his contracts with co-counsel.

Four lawyers and a judge have been disbarred in connection with the fen-phen litigation.