EAST ST. LOUIS – In nationwide litigation over Bayer contraceptives, U.S. District Judge David Herndon includes retired judge Dan Stack and excludes the public.

On April 12, with Stack in Amsterdam supervising depositions of Bayer personnel, Herndon and nine lawyers met for 90 minutes in Herndon's chambers.

They emerged at 12:30 p.m., and concluded their public business in five minutes.

Plaintiff lawyer Michael Burg of Englewood, Colo., told Herndon he presented a draft of discovery rules for bellwether trials Herndon plans to hold.

Herndon said he would enter it immediately.

Judges in mass litigation hold bellwether trials to sharpen issues and identify ranges of possible settlement.

Burg told Herndon depositions continued in Amsterdam, adding that Stack was there.

Herndon had appointed the former Madison County circuit judge as special master in March, to mediate disputes in Amsterdam.

Bayer lawyer Adam Hoeflich of Chicago told Herndon they might have further need for Stack's services.

Herndon said, "That has turned out to be an advantageous appointment for the parties."

He presides over about 6,000 suits from federal courts nationwide, claiming gall bladder injuries and circulatory damage on contraceptives Yasmin, Yaz and Ocella.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multi District Litigation consolidated the litigation and assigned it to him in 2009.

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