In November 2010, U.S. District Judge David Herndon, who is overseeing the federal Yaz lawsuits, ordered three executives from Bayer to fly to the United States for their depositions. Joachim Marr, Hartmut Blode and Ilka Schellschmidt, who work at Bayer’s headquarters in Germany, were selected to represent the company regarding the pre-clinical and clinical development processes.
The location of the depositions had been a source of contention between the parties. Because German law does not provide for American-style depositions, defendants had suggested the depositions be held in Belgium. However, plaintiffs objected to the Belgium location, arguing that the cost of flying up to a dozen attorneys to Belgium would be cost prohibitive. Subsequently, defendants moved for a protective order, claiming that the executives would be away from their duties too long if forced to travel to the U.S. After considering arguments on both sides, Judge Herndon concluded that, “equities favor[ed] the depositions being held in the United States.”
However, it appears that cooperation between the parties has broken down over the last couple months.
On January 20, 2011, Judge Herndon advised that all depositions were being halted until he could write a new protocol for them and submit them to the state judges in California, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. During a hearing on an unrelated matter, Judge Herndon opined that the, “depositions ha[d] been anything but efficient.” Judge Herndon further opined that the depositions had wasted time and were uncooperative. However, Judge Herndon continued to express his intentions to include the state judges in his decisions.