New Justice Team Leader for Tobacco Case
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The attorney directing the federal government's massive lawsuit against the tobacco industry will be replaced by his deputy, the U.S. Justice Department said on Friday.
It said J. Patrick Glynn, a veteran department attorney who had been director of the tobacco litigation team, will return to his previous job in charge of complex environmental injury cases and will be succeeded by his deputy, Sharon Eubanks.
Glynn, who was selected in February last year to take charge of the tobacco case, helped prepare the lawsuit that was filed in September seeking to recover billions of dollars spent by the federal government on smoking-related illnesses.
The lawsuit accused the tobacco industry of fraud and deceit since the 1950s, and sought to recover much of the $20 billion spent by the federal government every year on smoking-related illnesses.
Glynn helped select the 15 attorneys now working on the team, and was involved in the drafting of the Justice Department's response filed late last month opposing the tobacco industry's request to dismiss the lawsuit.
Among those named in the suit were Philip Morris Inc.; R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.; British-American Tobacco P.L.C.; Loews Corp'sLorillard Tobacco Co. Inc.; Brooke Group Ltd's Liggett Group Inc.; the Council for Tobacco Research U.S.A. Inc. and the Tobacco Institute Inc.
Eubanks, a career Justice Department attorney for 17 years, previously handled complex commercial litigation before becoming involved in the tobacco case.
The Justice Department said the number of attorneys involved in the litigation is expected to increase as the case moves toward an anticipated January 2003 trial date.