Tillery

Class action attorney Stephen Tillery of St. Louis, who for years accused businesses of deceiving his clients, suddenly accuses them of anything but that.

Tillery team member Maximilian Gibbons of Chicago eliminated every reference to deception in an amended class action complaint against drug maker Pfizer on March 31.

He substituted "unfair conduct" for "misrepresentations and concealment" throughout.

"These claims are not premised on any misrepresentations whatsoever," Gibbons wrote the same day in a brief opposing a motion to dismiss.

Two weeks earlier, Tillery team member Robert King of St. Louis disavowed any claims of deception in seven proposed class actions against mutual funds.

In the Pfizer case, deleting deception didn't leave much substance.

The new complaint alleges only that Pfizer overcharged for painkillers Celebrex and Bextra, though it doesn't explain how Pfizer overcharged without deceiving anyone.

Comparison of the complaints shows how Tillery pulled in his horns.

The original complaint read:

"By virtue of their misrepresentations and concealment of the true extent of health hazards of Celebrex and Bextra throughout the class period, Defendant was able to charge prices for the drugs that were far in excess of the fair market value that the drugs would have had but for Defendant's misrepresentations and concealments."

The new one reads:

"The price charged by Defendant for Celebrex and Bextra throughout the class period were far in excess of the fair market value the drugs would have had but for Defendant's unfair conduct."

The original complaint read:

"At all relevant times, Defendant knew that the prices which it charged for Celebrex and Bextra were far in excess of the fair market value of the drugs and would have been if not for Defendant's misrepresentations and concealments."

The new one reads:

"At all relevant times, Defendant knew that the prices which it charged for Celebrex and Bextra were far in excess of the fair market value the drugs would have had but for Defendant's unfair conduct."

The original complaint read:

"The excessive prices which Defendants charged for the drugs enabled Defendant to receive from and on behalf of consumers many millions of dollars more than Defendant would have earned but for Defendant's misrepresentations and concealment of the true extent of the health hazards of the drug."

The new one reads:

"The excessive prices which Defendant charged for the drugs enabled Defendant to receive from and on behalf of consumers many millions of dollars more than Defendant would have earned but for Defendant's unfair conduct."

The old complaint read:

"Defendant's unfair conduct, as alleged herein, was material to Plaintiffs' and Class Members' decision to purchase the drugs."

The new one deletes that sentence.

Madison County Associate Judge Ralph Mendelsohn presides over the case.

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