- Laura A. Bischoff Columbus bureau
Former clients of disbarred attorney Stanley Chesley won a victory Thursday when the Ohio Supreme Court blocked a lower court from considering Chesley’s request to transfer assets from his former law firm.
The Ohio Supreme Court in a 4-3 ruling issued Thursday told Hamilton County Probate Court Judge Ralph Winkler to hold off, even though the lower court has the authority to act.
Chesley, of Cincinnati, was the driving force in mega-lawsuits over the course of decades: the 1977 Beverly Hills Supper Club fire, the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, breast implant clients dispute with Dow Corning, sexual abuse victims complaints against the Catholic Church and a civil action involving the diet drug fen-phen.
Nineteen former clients of Chesley are owed millions of dollars that they never got in a class action lawsuit. They say Chesley and other attorneys have stolen millions of dollars from the settlement. The clients, part of the fen-phen case, sued Chesley in 2004.
The Ohio Supreme Court said Chesley is waging an “ongoing campaign” to shelter assets from those who have won settlements against him. In 2014, courts in Kentucky ruled that Chesley owed the clients $42 million.
Both Ohio and Kentucky disbarred Chesley for his conduct in the case.
Last year, the Ohio Supreme Court issued a similar order against Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Ruehlman for presiding over another Chesley action aim to payment. “And the record in that case is replete with examples of abusive litigation tactics,” the court wrote.
Chesley is married to U.S. District Court Judge Susan Dlott.