Tillery wants to prevent Pfizer from escaping Madison County

Steve Korris Mar. 13, 2008, 9:00am


Class action attorney Stephen Tillery of St. Louis argues that drug maker Pfizer can't escape Madison County jurisdiction because it recruited volunteers for clinical trials in the county and because business cards of two employees show Edwardsville addresses.

Tillery has asked Associate Judge Ralph Mendelsohn to deny a motion from Pfizer to transfer a class action from Madison County to Cook County.

Pfizer asserts that it doesn't do business in Madison County, but Tillery associate Aaron Zigler wrote Feb. 26 that, "Pfizer has voluntarily located itself in Madison County."

Mendelsohn plans a March 20 hearing on Pfizer's motion.

Four Tillery plaintiffs claim they paid more for painkillers Celebrex and Bextra than they would have paid if Pfizer hadn't misrepresented the risks and benefits of the pills.

Tillery claims no damages for physical injuries, seeking instead to recover the difference between what plaintiffs paid and what they should have paid.

If Mendelsohn denies transfer, he will hold a hearing April 4 on a motion to dismiss.

If he doesn't dismiss, he will hold a hearing April 22 on Tillery's motion to certify his clients as representatives of a plaintiff class.

Zigler's brief on the transfer motion stated that Pfizer tested a breast cancer drug in Alton from 2003 to 2007.

"Further, in November 2005, Pfizer opened an investigational site in Edwardsville to test Indiplon's effect on insomnia and depression," he wrote.

"In February 2006, Pfizer opened an investigational site in Granite City to study the effect of Geodon on bi-polar disorder," he wrote.

Zigler displayed a copy of a business card for Steven Faulkner, Pfizer clinical education consultant team manager, with an address at 8703 Rosewood Hills Dr.in Edwardsville.

Zigler wrote that Faulkner is responsible for all consultants in Illinois and Wisconsin.

The address, he wrote, "has a separate room containing office equipment such as a computer, copier, fax machine, pens and paper issued by or paid for by Pfizer."

At one point, he wrote, the telephone number on Faulkner's card was listed in a Madison County phone book as Pfizer Inc.

Zigler also displayed a card for Angela Hobick, district manager, at 138 Pleasant Ridge Dr. in Edwardsville.

The address contains office equipment, he wrote, and Hobick performs evaluations, tracks budgets, and manages voice mail and e-mail there.

"Both Mr. Faulkner and Ms. Hobick conduct affairs of Pfizer in furtherance of corporate activity at their offices," he wrote.

He wrote that in depositions, they said Pfizer has no office in Madison County.

"Whether or not Mr. Faulkner or Ms. Hobick believe that Pfizer has an office in Edwardsville does not address the purely legal question at issue," he wrote.

"The plain and ordinary meaning of the term 'office' has been met in this case," he wrote.

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