ExamSoft Faces Lawsuits Over Server Glitch

ExamSoft Worldwide Inc. was hit with criticism from would-be lawyers who took the bar exam after the test-taking software company suffered a server lag that prevented tens of thousands of students from uploading their answers for several hours after they were due.

Now, the Florida-based company will have to deal with complaints from actual lawyers.

At least three lawsuits seeking class-action status have been filed against the company over the technical foul-up. The complaints accuse ExamSoft of breach of contract and violating consumer-fraud and deceptive-trade-practices laws.

They demand that the company return to students the $100 to $150 that tens of thousands of them paid to use ExamSoft's software, which allows test takers to take exams on their own computers.

A complaint filed on behalf of three law-school graduates from Illinois, Maryland and Minnesota by Miller Law LLC in Chicago blames ExamSoft for causing students to spend anxious late-night hours frantically clicking on their computers when they should have been preparing for the second day of the exam.

ExamSoft's vice president of marketing, Kenneth Knotts, said the company "absolutely sympathizes with the bar applicants who experienced a delay" and is "taking steps to improve our performance going forward."

—Jacob Gershman

Disbarred 'Prince of Torts' May Be on Hook for Over $25 Million

Stanley Chesley, the Ohio trial lawyer brought low by his involvement in a disputed diet-drug suit, could be on the hook for at least $25 million to settle claims that he took $7.5 million more than his share of a 2001 settlement.

Once known as the "Prince of Torts," Mr. Chesley was disbarred last year in Kentucky after the state's Supreme Court sanctioned him for professional misconduct in the case. The court didn't require him to pay any restitution. Soon after, he surrendered his Ohio law license, effectively ending a decadeslong career in mass-tort litigation.

Now a Kentucky judge has ruled that Mr. Chesley is jointly and severally liable for $42 million in damages awarded to plaintiffs in 2007 against three other lawyers in the case who were found to have violated their fiduciary duty to clients. Mr. Chesley, who acted as lead negotiator in the 2001 settlement with American Home Products over alleged health problems caused by the diet drug fen-phen, has said his circumstances were different than those lawyers, for example, because he wasn't party to the contracts they negotiated with clients in the case.

Boone County Circuit Court Judge James Schrand disagreed, writing in an Aug. 1 decision that Mr. Chesley had engaged in a joint enterprise with the other lawyers and had breached his fiduciary duty.

Jennifer Smith