Three lawsuits against drug makers were returned to a St. Clair County judge after a ruling by the 5th Appellate Court in Mount Vernon.
And it's likely the cases won't be heard in St. Clair County, but some other court, perhaps even federal court where multi-district litigation is already pending.
Belleville lawyer Christopher Cueto was one of the lawyers who filed a lawsuit against the makers of antibiotic Levaquin, alleging it causes a potentially deadly skin disease, and Tylenol, alleging it caused injuries after plaintiffs took it.
Cueto asked a judge to join plaintiffs, so the cases could be tried in St. Clair County. Circuit Judge Andrew Gleeson agreed the cases were similar in law and facts to one another and joined the plaintiffs in the lawsuit and allowed the case to proceed in St. Clair County because at least one of the plaintiffs lived in the county.
Defense attorney Dan Ball, who could not be reached for comment, appealed the issue that the cases should be heard in St. Clair County. He also asked Gleeson to certify for appeal the question whether all the plaintiffs' cases should be heard together. Cueto opposed that and Gleeson agreed.
Left to argue the forum was proper without the arguing all the plaintiffs' cases, including the St. Clair County residents, should be heard together, Cueto agreed to the relief sought by Ball -- having the case reversed and sent back to Gleeson so the plaintiffs who don't live in Illinois can file in their respective states and those who don't live in St. Clair County can file their cases in their respective counties.
The appellate court did not publish the Jan. 14 decisions, meaning they cannot be used as a precedent to be used in future cases.
Cueto said it's likely the cases will be dismissed in St. Clair County and refiled elsewhere. He declined to state where the cases would go.
"We do intend to refile these cases," Cueto said. "We still believe that we have good cases."
Contact reporter Beth Hundsdorfer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2570.