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April 1,  2002

Federal Court Appoints Special Master in Baycol Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1431 - Limits Bayer's Access to Patient Information


(SafetyAlerts) - The United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, presiding over the national Baycol Products Liability Litigation, this week appointed Professor Roger Haydock of the Williams Mitchell College of Law as Special Master pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 53, to insuring that Bayer (defendants) does not have access to information previously obtained by Bayer Drug Safety or use this claimant information in this litigation without an Order from the Court.

The Court Order (Pretrial order No.11) appointing a Special Master and limiting Bayer access and use of patient information was granted by the court after an emergency motion was filed by the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee (PSC) in the MDL immediately after it was learned that Bayer was sending medical releases and requests for information by certified mail to Baycol Claimants who had filed adverse incident reports with the company. Defendants argued this contact was required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and that the release of medical information was needed for compliance with FDA regulation.

The PSC argued this was a violation of the attorney-client relationship, because it constituted an inappropriate contact with a client who was represented by counsel. The PSC also contended Bayer's conduct was an attempt to obtain confidential information without proper authority and consent, in violation of Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

PSC lead counsel Charles S. Zimmerman said, "This is a big victory for the claimants and the putative class. Now Bayer cannot communicate and obtain a blanket release of medical records and use them against the claimant in this litigation. We now have a neutral, knowledgeable process with the Special Master, to make sure everything is proper and fair."

To read the Pre-trial Order Number 11, visit

Source: PRNewswire

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