Pfizer request for more time between venue, class cert hearings denied

Steve Korris May 2, 2008, 5:24am

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Supreme Court won't disturb Madison County Associate Judge Ralph Mendelsohn's plan to hold hearings nine days apart on transfer of venue and class certification in Stephen Tillery's suit against drug maker Pfizer.

Pfizer petitioned the Justices for a supervisory order April 4, seeking a longer interval so it could appeal in the event Mendelsohn denied transfer.

The Justices denied the petition April 30.

Mendelsohn can stick to his plan to hold a hearing July 21 on a motion from Pfizer to transfer venue to Cook County and a hearing July 30 on class certification.

For Pfizer, Gary Feinerman of Chicago tried to persuade the Supreme Court that the schedule created an unfair advantage for plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs didn't deny that they sought the schedule, he wrote.

"Nor do plaintiffs deny that their goal was to ensure that if the venue motion were denied, the circuit court would rule on class certification before the appellate court could allow leave to appeal the venue ruling," he wrote.

If the appellate court transferred venue to Cook County after the Madison County court certified a class action, he wrote, plaintiffs would argue that the class certification ruling should stand.

Tillery's clients claim Pfizer overcharged for painkillers Celebrex and Bextra.

While the Supreme Court pondered Pfizer's petition against Mendelsohn, he granted a motion in Pfizer's favor.

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