Pfizer's $894 million settlement shakes off Madison County suit

Steve Korris Oct. 31, 2008, 1:36am


When Pfizer Inc. settled thousands of personal injury suits over painkillers Bextra and Celebrex two weeks ago, the drug maker also shook off a Madison County class action.

On Oct. 15, Stephen Tillery of St. Louis dismissed a fraud claim that he had pursued as a class action against Pfizer since 2005.

Two days later, Pfizer announced an $894 million nationwide settlement of Bextra and Celebrex suits.

Pfizer agreed to pay $745 million to settle about 7,000 heart attack and stroke claims, at about $100,000 per claim.

It agreed to pay $60 million to 33 state attorneys general who sued it.

And, Pfizer agreed to pay $89 million to settle class action fraud claims.

Tillery's class action sought damages equal to the difference between what consumers paid for the pills and what they would have paid if they had known the risks.

Tillery sued in 2005, just ahead of the effective date of the Class Action Fairness Act, which steered most class actions to federal courts.

Pfizer asked Associate Judge Ralph Mendelsohn for a venue transfer to Cook County, arguing that the company does no business in Madison County.

Earlier this year Mendelsohn set a hearing on venue, and he set a class certification hearing a week after the venue hearing.

Pfizer appealed to the Fifth District in Mount Vernon, claiming the short interval would preclude an appeal of a venue decision prior to the class certification hearing.

Now Mendelsohn and the Fifth District don't have to give it another thought.

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