Three strikes..

The Madison County Record Aug. 26, 2007, 5:12am


In his quest to pocket $1.8 billion in legal fees, Belleville lawyer Stephen Tillery suffered another setback last week.

The Illinois Supreme Court, for the third and final time, told him to knock it off.

No more Stephen Tillery playing make believe that he's America's self-anointed consumer prosecutor.

No more Stephen Tillery pretending he's a member of the U.S. Congress, leading a fictional majority on a quest to ban cigarette smoking and put tobacco companies out of business.

No more Stephen Tillery, convincing long-past-their-prime local circuit court judges to publicly humiliate themselves, mistakenly re-opening cases they've been ordered by the state's highest court to dismiss.

And no more Stephen Tillery working overtime to manipulate our civil justice system, incessantly hunting for a weakness here or a soft spot there that might help him further line his own pockets.

Suffice to say, the people of Madison County aren't the only ones who've had enough of Stephen Tillery. We're not the only ones who wish he'd just move on. Yet seeing that, preposterous or not, the mega-wealthy lawyer so cherishes Price v. Philip Morris as the class action that put him on the map, our collective hopes and dreams seem poised to remain just that.

In a sycophantic profile by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch earlier this month, Tillery called Price the "career event" that made him famous. He now has tens of millions and a big fancy office that sports a view into Busch Stadium, the writer fawned.

That's good for him, but not for Madison County. Being best known as the place to go for "jackpot justice" attracts plenty of plaintiff's lawyers and tort reform advocates. But it doesn't do much for our housing values or the broader local job market.

The attention garnered by Judge Nick Byron's since-overturned $10.1 billion Price verdict has slapped our communities with a healthy helping of infamy.

We're ready to start the healing-- if Stephen Tillery would finally stop picking the scab.

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