Judge David Herndon, who will be presiding over all of the Yaz/Yasmin lawsuits filed against Bayer, has ordered the company to pay for its German executives to fly into the U.S. and give depositions for the trial.
As previously reported, Herndon will be utilizing the “bellwether approach” to begin the Yaz/Yasmin trials this fall. Bayer has already sought a protective order to prevent it from having to produce all of the documents of discovery in the case, claiming that in paper format they would weigh as much as 200 tons. The company tried this tactic again when, during a telephone conference in November 2010, the Bayer’s reps were ordered by Herndon to bring Joachim Marr, Hartmut Blode and Ilka Schellschmidt in the United States because he said that “equities favor the depositions being held in the U.S.”
Bayer had already said that Marr, Blode and Schellschmidt could be used as representatives in talking about pre-clinical and clinical developments discussion topics. However, German law prevents American-styled depositions to be held in Germany, so Bayer offered to bring the three to Belgium. The idea was outright rejected by the plaintiffs’ lawyers, who claimed that the cost of flying all of the lawyers to Belgium would be prohibitive.
Bayer argued that both the jet lag as well as the time it takes to travel to the U.S. from that far away would prevent the executives from doing their jobs for too long. Bayer had no choice but to file another protective order. By the time the phone conference had ended, Herndon denied Bayer’s protective order and told the company to have them flown to the U.S. for the depositions. Herndon asserted his jurisdiction to the dismay of Bayer and their lawyers.
While the Yaz/Yasmin lawsuits have yet to get to trial, there are plenty of pretrial activities going on and Bayer seems bent on dragging its feet during the process. So far, Herndon isn’t letting the company’s excuses get very far.