The Kentucky high court concluded that Chesley acted unethically in helping negotiate a $200 million settlement for 431 users of the diet drug fen-phen in 2001. The court cited Chesley on eight counts of professional misconduct, including taking excessive fees and concealing misconduct by other attorneys in the case.
Chesley also faces sanctions in Ohio.
Chris Davey, a spokesman for the Supreme Court of Ohio, declined to speak specifically about Chesley's case. Davey said Ohio does recognize the discipline of other jurisdictions, but the court would have to take action to impose the same or similar discipline in Ohio.
Officials with the Ohio Supreme Court said that under Ohio rules, the court would convene a Disciplinary Council to act as prosecutor in such cases.
An attorney who has to go before such a council must file a brief proving why they should not be subject to sanction. Court officials said in most cases, the Supreme Court presumes that the attorney should be subject to the same discipline as is meted out in other states.
In other words, the attorney has to prove fraud, or some other reason why they should not be subject to the same discipline.
Once the attorney files the brief, the Ohio Supreme Court would issue its decision. There is no appeal.
According to court spokespeople, while Ohio does not have a "reciprocity" agreement with Kentucky, the rules of the court are such that it will recognize members of the Bar association from other states. Most other states have other guidelines as recommended by the American Bar Association.
Officials said it is not clear right now whether Chesley will have to go through similar processes in all the other jurisdictions to be able to keep his law license in those areas.
Court workers said it's also not clear if Chesley can act as a consultant and provide advice, but not actually practice law.