Bayer executives must fly to U.S. for Yaz depositions; Plaintiffs 'over-lawyering,' says defense

Steve Korris Nov. 23, 2010, 6:38am



EAST ST. LOUIS – German executives of drug maker Bayer must fly to America for depositions, U.S. District Judge David Herndon has decided.

In a telephone conference on Nov. 19, he ordered Bayer to produce Joachim Marr, Hartmut Blode, and Ilka Schellschmidt in the United States.

He wrote that "equities favor the depositions being held in the United States."

He presides over thousands of federal suits from around the nation seeking damages for injuries from oral contraceptives Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella.

Earlier this month, Bayer identified Marr, Blode and Schellschmidt as representatives capable of discussing preclinical and clinical development topics.

Bayer couldn't produce them in Germany, where the law doesn't allow American style depositions, so Bayer offered to produce them in Brussels, Belgium.

Plaintiffs rejected Brussels, and Bayer moved on Nov. 17 for a protective order.

John Galvin of St. Louis wrote that conducting depositions in Brussels would minimize business disruption for Bayer's German affiliate, BSP AG.

Galvin wrote that travel and jet lag adjustment would increase the time they would be unavailable for their usual duties.

He wrote that plaintiffs claimed it would be too expensive for them to take 10 to 12 attorneys overseas.

"[P]laintiffs cannot over-lawyer a deposition and then claim that their over-lawyering presents a unique circumstance to support a different deposition location," Galvin wrote.

After 75 minutes on the phone with six lawyers for plaintiffs and seven for Bayer, Herndon denied Bayer's motion for protective order.

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