The Madison County Record Feb. 23, 2013, 6:36am

And the suit goes on, the suit goes on

Judges keep pounding a rhythm to the brain

La de da de de, la de da de da

Our apologies to Sonny and Cher, but the 1967 pop hit, as you can see, is easily adapted to serve as the theme song for St. Louis attorney Stephen Tillery in his long-running class-action lawsuit against Philip Morris.

"The Beat Goes On" was songwriter Sonny Bono’s take on the old adage that “the more things change, the more they stay the same." The song was sung at his funeral, and the title serves as an epitaph on his tombstone

Sonny’s left us, but his beat goes on. Stephen Tillery and his lawsuit are still with us, and it’s beginning to look like neither one will ever come to an end.

What’s the secret to the amazing staying power of Tillery’s thirteen-year-old suit against Philip Morris (for allegedly misleading the public about the relative health benefits of light and low-tar cigarettes)? It could be the $10 billion judgment rendered in his favor ten years ago, with $2 billion in attorneys’ fees. The judgment was vacated in 2005, and Tillery’s been trying to get it reinstated ever since.

A couple of weeks ago, it looked like the case was headed back to the State Supreme Court, for at least the third time, but the high court denied Philip Morris’ request for direct appeal.

The tobacco company had made its motion in response to Tillery’s appeal of Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth’s Dec. 12 decision denying relief from the Supreme Court’s dismissal of the $10 billion judgment.

For the time being then, the case remains on the docket of the Fifth District Appellate Court. Around and around it goes, and where or when it stops  nobody knows.

And the suit goes on, the suit goes on.

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