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Tobacco Cos. Seek Judge’s Records

August 18, 1998

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ Most of the tobacco companies involved in Minnesota’s lawsuit against the industry want to know if the judge’s health problems affected their ability to get a fair trial.

In District Court papers filed Monday, all of the companies except Liggett Group Inc. asked that Judge Kenneth Fitzpatrick give them access to his medical records.

They also asked that the records be reviewed in private by Chief Judge Lawrence Cohen.

In June, Gov. Arne Carlson granted Fitzpatrick’s request to take early disability retirement, effective July 31, because of health problems.

Fitzpatrick said the trial, which ended in May with a $6.6 billion settlement for the state and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, damaged his fragile health.

The judge said he experienced racing of the heart, irregular heartbeat and anxiety during the trial.

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