When St. Louis attorney Stephen Tillery argument made earlier this month that Philip Morris had admitted the facts set out in his latest petition, without giving a formal answer, lawyers, tobacco giant argued that both parties agree to do so.
Tillery, who represents the plaintiffs in the decade-old class action suit over cigarette labeling that he is seeking to reignite, told Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth that he did not recall such an agreement and assumed it was just part of Philip Morris’ legal strategy
Stressing the need to keep track of just how the decision will likely be appealed, oral motion Ruth gave Philip Morris “for leave to file a formal response. He also appealed to the lawyers to look at my e-mail and let him know if there is a record of the agreement. Two days later, Philip Morris filed a proposed answer to the petition Tillery in seeking relief from dismissal $ 10.1 billion sentence came in 2003 over claims that Philip Morris mislead their customers through the use of “light” and “low-tar” cigarette labeling.
In an attempt to show the judge that Tillery Philip Morris agreed to file a petition against it with all the factual and legal arguments, instead of dealing with the problems alone, the company has included an e-mail string between the two legal teams. In the February 2 letter Tillery, Larry Hepler, one of the lawyers representing the tobacco company, wrote, “As you know, the Court of Appeal declined to reach the base we have come to our motion to dismiss the petition, except for timing and said that Judge Ruth should consider these grounds into custody.”
Hepler, lawyer Edwardsville, continued: “With all the time that has passed, we believe that the best way to proceed would be for us to get our motion to dismiss and to file against your petition, which includes all of our legal and factual arguments against her to avoid, as you say, dealing in parts. ” “I think it makes the most sense, let me know what you think,” Hepler said. Tillery wrote back: “Just because I’m clear, you offer O, and then re-file your motion to dismiss, or simply provide your factual and legal response to the petition, so we do everything in one ear?”
Hepler Tillery answered the question with the proposed schedule, which said, Philip Morris will give a brief with all the factual and legal response to the petition, Tillery will respond to its brief within 30 days, and Philip Morris will give a reply within 21 days. After that, Hepler wrote one hearing will be held for Ruth to hear arguments on the application. In a letter sent Hepler, Tillery wrote that, as the only remaining basis for moving Philip Morris “, whether to dismiss the plaintiffs have sufficient grounds for exemption under Section 2-1401 of the Civil Procedure Code,” it seems that we could have done in a single hearing. “
Tillery added: “In other words, you must submit a factual and legal response to the petition, and then we move from one court hearing … If this is what you propose to do, I think we can work something out.’ After several email exchanges between the two, Tillery said: “We can make a deal,” and then offered a specific date for the parties to file their responses to questions. Hepler said the other proposed schedule, which will give both sides more time to file their replies and answers. Tillery wrote in response: “It will work.”
Although this issue in the absence of a formal response to the petition Tillery was just one of several issues discussed during the lengthy hearing on August 21, it has become quite controversial. Chicago attorney George Lombardi, who argued on behalf of the tobacco companies at the hearing, said Tillery not raise the issue before the hearing, he said the move was “gamesmanship.” Tillery Ruth said that in 2007, the state high court’s decision in People v. Vincent argues that if the defendant does not respond to the petition, it is an acknowledgment of the facts. The proposed response filed on August 23, Philip Morris argues Vincent Court based its decision not only on the failure of the state to file an answer, but the fact that it does not offer any response to the prisoner section 2-1401 petition.
“But nothing in this or any other case suggests that the parties agreed to the procedure here … somehow not enough, in the absence of point-by-point response to preserve the defendant’s right to challenge the fact that the plaintiff’s claims were factual assertions,” Philip Morris argued. Tobacco Company then offered a point-by-point response to all of the claims alleged in the petition of the plaintiff. He noted that he did not offer any new arguments, and thus providing the company’s request to file a response shall be without prejudice to the customers Tillery.
Ruth noted on August 21 hearing that just because he gave an oral motion Philip Morris “for leave to file a response does not mean that he would have approved it. It is unclear when he will rule on the matter or motion seeking relief from the judgment of dismissal.
In 2000, Tillery filed a lawsuit against Philip Morris on behalf of Sharon prices, arguing that tobacco companies deceptively promoted the health benefits of light and low-tar cigarettes. It did not make claims for personal injury, and to search for the difference between what smokers pay for cigarettes and what they would pay if Philip Morris did not disappoint them. After a bench trial in Madison County, now a retired Madison County Judge Nicholas Bryon in 2003 he was awarded the plaintiffs damages in the amount of $ 10.1 billion, which includes $ 1.8 billion in attorney’s fees.
After the Illinois Supreme Court ordered Byron to dismiss the case in 2005, Tillery request reconsideration. The judge denied his request, stimulating Tillery on appeal from the U.S. Supreme Court, which denied it. After the Illinois Supreme Court, Byron dismissed the case in 2006. Two years later, Tillery seeks relief from dismissal in Madison County Circuit Court. Philip Morris moved down petition under the statute of limitations, and for that asserts a basis for relief.
Ruth, who inherited the business from Byron, when he retired, ruled in favor of the tobacco companies, saying the statute of limitations for filing a request has expired. Tillery appealed and, as Ruth, the Fifth District Court of Appeal found that the statute of limitations applies and does not address the tobacco companies claim that the plaintiffs could not claim as a basis for relief.
The appeals panel remanded the case back to Ruth on facts. Philip Morris appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court, which refused to violate a court of appeal last September. Although she wrote the majority opinion for the court in 2005, Garman disagreement with the decision of the court to refuse the application for a tobacco company for leave to appeal. She said that her colleagues had the petition Philip Morris “, because it inevitably comes to us in the normal course of the trial.”