So Stephen Tillery is accusing Rex Carr of threatening him with frivolous lawsuits?

Now he knows how it feels for the rest of us.

In federal court last week, Tillery asked U.S. District Court Judge David Herndon to dismiss Carr's suit against him. It's a dramatic one, demanding $40 million in damages over unpaid class action lawsuit spoils while accusing the Belleville lawyer of racketeering and civil conspiracy.

It's hard to imagine the these two Metro-East super-duper plaintiff's lawyers used to be partners.

Korein Tillery, Tillery's firm, used to be called Carr Korein Tillery, striking fear in the hearts of businessmen here and elsewhere from 1988 until 2003. To be sure, Tillery and Carr were pals when he filed the lawsuit-- Price v. Philip Morris-- that made Madison County famous.

At issue here are fees the firm won in a host of class actions against household names like IBM, Pfizer and Xerox. It's an epic battle, one that's been raging between Tillery and Carr since the spring of 2004, when Judge Nick Byron garnered headlines for making a newspaper reporter leave the courtroom while the ex-partners sparred over money.

It can be embarrassing, you know, when it's revealed to we common folk that our self-appointed "consumer lawyers" aren't taking on corporate America out of the goodness of their own hearts.

This fight, like their lawsuits, is about something more than that. Tillery won a reported $5.8 million in fees in the IBM case alone. Carr is clawing for his piece, and I guess who can blame him?

Tillery has now asked the court to do more than just dismiss his ex-partner's "parade of lawsuits" against him. For "repackaging the same tired allegations" rebuffed by the state court, Tillery now wants Judge Herndon to sanction Carr.

Sanctions? For being overly persistent with one's lawsuit filing? For continuing to press your case in the courts when they've already told you "no"?

Hmmm. Tillery should be careful. He might be on to something.

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