DOJ Notice of Eubanks Withdrawal

December 1, 2005 7:32 am by Gene Borio

DOJ Notice of Eubanks Withdrawal 2005-11-30

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

Plaintiff,

PHILIP MORRIS USA INC.,

f/k/a PHILIP MORRIS INC., et al.,

Defendants.

Civil Action No. v. : 99-2496 (GK)

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NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL OF COUNSEL FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Plaintiff, the United States of America, hereby gives notice that Sharon Y. Eubanks, counsel of record for the United States of America in the above-captioned action, hereby withdrawals as counsel of record effective December 1, 2005.

Dated: November 30, 2005

Respectfully submitted,

Washington, D.C.

PETER D. KEISLER

Assistant Attorney General

__________________________________________

SHARON Y. EUBANKS (D.C. Bar No. 420147)

Director, Tobacco Litigation Team

__________________________________________

STEPHEN D. BRODY (D.C. Bar No. 459263)

Deputy Director, Tobacco Litigation Team

2

Torts Branch, Civil Division

United States Department of Justice

Post Office Box 14524

Washington, D.C. 20044-4524

Telephone: (202) 616-4185

Attorneys for Plaintiff

United States of America

6 Responses to “DOJ Notice of Eubanks Withdrawal”

  1. tobacco observer Says:

    The trial is over, and effectively so are post-trial filings and motions.

    Considering how much of her time, professional energy, and career has been wrapped up in this case, the timing of Eubanks resignation right now is curious. After pursuing this for fully six years, why is she quitting right now before the end? Barring personal (eg health or family reasons) to leave, I can think of only two reasons why she might quit before a decision is reached:

    Maybe she believes the DOJ is going to lose the case on its merits, and she doesn’t want to remain as the head scapegoat when that happens.

    Alternatively (and much more probably), she may not like what is going on within the DOJ right now. Since post-trial motions are over, and the case is basically frozen until Judge Kessler issues some post-trial rulings (or a final decision) the only likely thing that could be going on now are settlement negotiations. So its possible Eubanks’ sudden resignation may be over internal conflict with regards to a potential settlement, presumeably with Eubanks being opposed to settlement terms currently under consideration.

    Either way, or even if something else is going on, resignation of the gov’ts lead counsel at this 11th hour is a bad sign.

  2. tobacco observer Says:

    From the horse’s mouth:

    http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/051201/tobacco_trial.html?.v=1

    >Eubanks said her supervisors’ failure to support her work on the tobacco case influenced her decision to retire after 22 years with the department.

    >”The political appointees to whom I report made this an easy decision,” Eubanks told The Washington Post. She said her work on the tobacco case has been professionally rewarding but her politically appointed bosses “have been somewhat less than supportive of the team’s efforts,” the newspaper reported on Thursday.

    So I stand corrected. Eubanks isn’t just leaving the case. . .she is retiring from the Justice Department for what sounds like the “personal reasons”.

    Apparently she didn’t get a bonus, and doesn’t feel appreciated for her work in this case. After six years none of this can be new, but at this point she probably doesn’t see much of a future for herself in the DOJ, possibly regardless of the case outcome.

  3. X-Girl Says:

    I worked for Sharon on the case. She worked her butt off! She deserves much more than a bonus. She burned gallons of midnight oil and helped train the more inexperienced attorneys on TLT in the courtroom. It’s no small consolation that she has earned some serious political capital, if she wants it. What private firm wouldn’t want her? Well, except for Covington Burling, et al.

  4. Gene Borio Says:

    >>its possible Eubanks’ sudden resignation may be over internal conflict with regards to a potential settlement, presumably with Eubanks being opposed to settlement terms currently under consideration.

    Yes, that’s my take on it. She would be an extremely tough negotiator, and her terms would be forward-looking, all-encompassing and iron-clad.

    If she was truly the “architect” of the trial plan, she has an even more phenomenal mind than I’d thought, and here it is now, tempered and hardened in the cauldron of the trial. By June, she looked absolutely formidable.

    And she’s not some Roberts- or Alito-esque mannequin simply doing what the Department told her. She believed in the case, and fiercely. She would be a major stumbling block to any attempted settlement that didn’t clamp the industry’s feet to the fire. Plus, she is well aware of the history of other accommodations with the industry. A settlement sanctioned by her would be hard-targeted at diminishing the harm of tobacco use, and in that regard, would cost the industry money. The industry’s not going to want an effective settlement.

    Her departure may signal DOJ’s (and/or the Administration’s) push for a “settlement” that’ll make the brouhaha over Fiore’s $130B National Cessation Plan look like a mild “Ahem!” DOJ’s in enough trouble using wordplay to sanction torture. Throw a sloppy settlement on the fire, and watch out! It’d be a terrible shame for one of our major Gov. Departments to go down so ignominiously.

    Though I have great respect for Mr. Brody, I don’t see that fierce Jeanne d’Arc fire in him. DOJ would be wise to tread very carefully without Sharon Eubanks’ expertise at the helm.

  5. Richard Hanson Says:

    I’ve had the privilege of knowing Ms. Eubanks in pre-tobacco litigation contexts. She’s a superb attorney. Her departure from DOJ would be a very substantial loss for the taxpayer even in placid circumstances. Take away from her departure whatever you wish, but one thing to keep in mind is that, above all, this highly intelligent and effective advocate also has an absolutely stellar level of personal integrity!

  6. Deborah Babbs Dye Says:

    I’ve known Ms. Eubanks my entire life. She’s a relative of mines. And I highly respect and support her in her decision making.

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