Best place for fair play is a neutral court

The Madison County Record Jan. 21, 2012, 2:37am

Cheaters never win? Cheaters never prosper? Who comes up with such maxims? Someone living in a cave?

We've all seen cheaters win and prosper at one time or another.

Students getting the answers to a test in advance or copying off of someone else's paper. Employees advancing their careers by claiming credit for the accomplishments of others. Unscrupulous attorneys winning cases with procedural tricks, bad evidence or false testimony. Hometown refs sometimes favor the home team. The list goes on and on.

At times cheaters do win and prosper. It's only when you take the long view – and define winning and prospering properly – that such maxims begin to have the ring of truth.

People who succeed honestly deserve to be proud of their accomplishments. They earn the respect of family, friends, and peers. They become better people and by example, so do people around them.

What do cheaters wind up with – other than the trappings of success? They may take pride in their craftiness, but their triumphs are tainted by it. They know they got more than their due, they know they're held in ill regard by anyone wise to their ways, and they know they've degraded themselves.

Now comes a Belleville plaintiffs attorney who in pursuit of a win at all costs is willing to try to seek an angle about where lawsuits should be filed.

Christopher Cueto, the brother of Circuit Judge Lloyd Cueto, filed suit in St. Clair County Court on behalf of several plaintiffs claiming Pfizer's antidepressant drug Zoloft caused birth defects in their children.

The case belonged in federal court. But home court, and maybe even a friendly ref, might put some game in the game.

The only problem was the opposition immediately called fouled.

"In a transparent attempt to deprive Pfizer of a federal forum, plaintiffs have fraudulently misjoined distinct personal injury claims from around the country," the defendant's attorney objected.

We'll continue to closely watch this case to see which winner prevails.

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