Attorney Stephen Tillery of St. Louis asked Madison County Associate Judge Ralph Mendelsohn to hurry so that Tillery's class action against drug maker Pfizer can stay ahead of another attorney's suit against Pfizer in California.

Tillery associate Aaron Zigler moved March 31 for a new schedule that would bring their class certification motion to a hearing earlier than July 30.

Zigler wrote, "…the pendency of a competing action in California federal court will effectively insure that plaintiffs never have their day in court."

He wrote, "…delaying a ruling on plaintiffs' motion for class certification while a competing action is pending will provide Pfizer with additional arguments in defense of class certification."

Zigler advised Mendelsohn that he made a mistake when he gave priority to a motion from Pfizer to transfer the suit to Cook County.

"The trial court is able to dispose of the motions on its docket in any order that it sees fit – even motions to transfer venue," Zigler wrote.

He invited Mendelsohn to certify a class action and then decide whether to transfer.

He wrote, "Thus, Pfizer will continue to receive the benefits of any orders entered by this court should the matter be transferred."

Tillery sued Pfizer in 2005, for plaintiffs Ricky Lott of Madison, Sandy Becker of Pontoon Beach, Gerald Sumner of Belleville and Mike Baldwin of Smithton.

They seek to recover the difference between what they paid for painkillers Celebrex and Bextra and what they would have paid if they had known the risks.

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