Panel Tells Lawyer to Pay Back Millions to Clients

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HOUSTON (AP) - A Houston trial lawyer has been ordered to pay at least $35.7 million to more than 3,000 former clients.

An arbitration panel says John O'Quinn improperly deducted expenses from settlements he won for them in cases alleging defective breast implants.

The final order was released late this week.

O'Quinn lawyer Billy Shepherd says they'll appeal.

What became a class action lawsuit was filed in 1999 by three ex-O'Quinn clients in East Texas claiming they were overcharged.

In March, a majority of the panel decided the deduction of $18.9 million from the plaintiffs settlements was improper.

The decision also said the one and a-half percent of general expenses collected by O'Quinn from the women had not been authorized by their contracts.

The case was originally filed in Rusk County.