Judge David Herndon has decided to seal witness production orders in the Yaz multi-district litigation trial (MDL) he is overseeing. Specifically, Herndon sealed the orders referring to some of Bayer’s European executives who were to give depositions on Bayer’s behalf in the Yaz lawsuits. The order came down on Aug. 18. Herndon’s decision was made in an effort to solve an argument over whether Bayer had to produce the three Europeans to give the depositions in the first place.
Right now, Judge Herndon presides over the national Yaz lawsuits that have plaintiffs claiming that Yasmin, Yaz and Ocella damaged gall bladders and blood clots. The trials are expected to begin next year. Back on Aug. 12, Bayer asked Herndon to ban the depositions from the Europeans, named van der Werff, Riemann and Trudeau. Bayer’s attorneys wrote in the public docket that according to Dutch law, Bayer cannot force van der Werff to testify anyway, writing, “Mr. van der Werff has stated that he will not voluntarily testify in these proceedings.”
The attorneys also wrote in the docket that should the plaintiffs really want to depose van der Werff, there are some procedures that could be followed about taking evidence out of the country under the Hague Convention.
“Plaintiffs have a full opportunity to develop evidence on regulatory activity in Europe through other witnesses,” Bayer’s attorneys wrote. “Plaintiffs are inviting a jurisdictional battle that would take months to resolve and provide a huge drain on the resources of the parties and the court.”
Sounds as if Bayer is trying to make it so difficult for the plaintiffs to get the testimony that they simply give up trying.
Much has been blacked out on the public docket, but enough information is provided to show that Bayer is trying to prevent the plaintiffs from getting the depositions that they want. Considering how complicated things have gotten for Herndon and all parties involved when it comes to getting all of the depositions done in the MDL so far, sealing the production orders may help to get the lawyers on both sides to stop wasting the court’s time fighting over them. This would be a blessing to everyone involved since the last thing anyone needs is another reason to stay the onset of the trial start date.