The U.S. Supreme Court has disbarred a mass torts attorney from practicing law in the high court for his alleged role in swindling a pharmaceutical company out of millions of dollars in fraudulent claims over the diet drug Fen-Phen. Robert Arledge of Vicksburg, Mississippi, was suspended from practicing law before the Court in July 2010 and in Mississippi in 2008. The state disbarred him in 2009 after he exhausted an appeals process.
Arledge was convicted of conspiracy and fraud in federal court in 2007 and sentenced to more than six years in prison. He allegedly recruited plaintiffs who falsely claimed that they had taken the drugs and were awarded settlements. The swindle, which involved numerous attorneys who entered fee-splitting and referral-fee arrangements to recruit clients to Fen-Phen settlements, reportedly netted more than $6 million from the drug’s manufacturer. Fen-Phen was a prescription diet drug pulled from the market in 1997 after research purportedly revealed it could cause heart and lung problems. See Product Liability Law 360, November 1, 2010.