Tillery's firm takes aim at big tobacco, again

By Steve Gonzalez | Nov 15, 2004

Stephen Tillery

Stephen Tillery's fight against big tobacco continues as his firm is providing counsel for plaintiffs in three new consumer fraud lawsuits--one seeking more than $1.15 million--filed Nov. 15 in Madison County Circuit Court.

Tillery’s newest targets are Hucks Convenience Stores, Brown & Williamson Tobacco and R.J. Reynolds. A mammoth $10.1 billion judgment against Philip Morris USA, in which Tillery was the original plaintiff's attorney, garnered $1.7 billion in legal fees for the St. Louis attorney last year.

Debra and James Mills filed a 23-count lawsuit, claiming Debra, who was diagnosed with lung cancer on Nov. 15, 2002, received higher levels of tar and nicotine than the defendants represented.

Hucks is named in the suit because the store "engaged in misrepresentations, unlawful schemes and courses of conduct that induced the plaintiff to purchase Kool Lights and Doral Lights Menthol cigarettes," according to the complaint.

The suit claims Debra started smoking as a teenager and the cancer was caused by using both Kool Lights and Doral Lights Menthol tobacco products as intended.

"Plaintiff would not have purchased Kool Lights and/or Doral Lights Menthol cigarettes, but for the defendant's unfair, deceptive acts or practices," the suit states.

Debra Mills claims she purchased and consumed more than 40 Kool Light cigarettes a day for 20 years, and then more than 40 Doral Lights Menthol cigarettes a day for four years.

The Mills are looking to receive a reasonable and equitable sum--which in a 23-count suit would amount to more than $1.15 million-- plus costs of suit and attorney fees from Hucks, Brown & Williamson, and R.J. Reynolds.

James Mills claims he has suffered the loss of consortium, society, companionship, fellowship and other valuable services of his wife.

Barbara Sandrowski of Collinsville is another plaintiff represented by Korein Tillery, who filed two separate, but similar lawsuits on Monday. She could not be reached for comment.

One is against Philip Morris USA and another against Hucks.

Sandrowski alleges she was diagnosed with lung cancer on July 28, 2000, after smoking approximately 40 Marlboro Lights cigarettes a day for 17 years.

Her five count suit alleges consumer fraud.

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