The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, the center of the federal YAZ MDL litigation, has posted to its website the minutes from the initial conference, held on November 19, 2009.
Nothing surprising happened at the hearing—they followed the same path that many initial conferences take, and the following were discussed:
- Document preservation letters (to make sure parties do not destroy documents that may be important in the litigation)
- Plan for discovery (documents requests were expected within about 4 weeks)
- Discussion of joint case management order (to outline the stages in joint discovery and case management)
- Proper defendant identification (this always happens in cases involving lots of corporate defendants and, particularly here, where Bayer has several foreign entities that may or may not be related to the YAZ production and marketing here in the U.S.)
- Agreement on Plaintiff and Defendant Fact Sheets (these are tools to unify discovery—every individual plaintiff fills out a fact sheet, typically 50-75 pages, covering their personal and medical histories. Oftentimes, Defendants will also fill out fact sheets relevant to the specific plaintiffs.
- Document production: the parties expect tens of millions of pages of documents to be produced, and may need the assistance of a document depository (oftentimes, these are remote or electronic) to be a center for common discovery.
A lot of work clearly went into preparing for this conference, and the parties have a lot of work ahead to streamline proceedings and discovery. But, compare this to hundreds of individual cases filed all over the country—this is a good way to handle things and conserve judicial resources.
The next conference is set for December 17.
We continue to get calls every day by healthy (and frequently young) women and their families who have suffered because of this drug—heart attack, stroke, gallbladder removal, deep vein thrombosis, pancreatitis, and pulmonary embolism. If you or a loved one has questions about the YAZ, Yasmin and Ocella lawsuits, please contact us at 1.800.553.8082, or click here for an internet consultation.