A New York state judge has ordered a trial to determine whether the law firm that negotiated a massive settlement with the maker of banned diet drug fen-phen violated ethical rules by apportioning the settlement in a manner designed to inflate the firm’s share of the funds.

In 2001, the firm now known as Napoli Bern Ripka sued American Home Products (AHP), now known as Wyeth, on behalf of around 5,000 former users of fen-phen (dexfenfluramine), a diet drug recalled by the Food and Drug Administration after studies linked it to heart valve damage. American Home settled the suit under confidential terms, though the settlement has been estimated to be over $1 billion.

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