U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young issued an order that overruled Cook’s appeal from the denial of a Motion for Protective Order Barring Proposed Deposition of former Cook Group, Inc. president Kem Hawkins. The Court ordered that Cook must produce its former executive for a deposition by September 27, 2017.
In early 2017, Matthews & Associates requested the deposition of Kem Hawkins to question him over IVC filter documents that included emails from his personal email account. Plaintiffs contend those documents reveal Mr. Hawkins was intimately involved in the decision-making process and strategy regarding critical issues in the case. The issues included decisions regarding the testing, design, marketing, and production of the Gunther Tulip and Celect IVC filters.
Defendants had filed a Motion April 27, 2017 for a Protective Order to prevent the Plaintiffs from deposing Mr. Hawkins. However, on June 30, 2017, the Magistrate Judge denied Cook’s request. He stated: “Hawkins was involved in the decision-making process and strategy regarding the testing, design, marketing, and production of the [Gunther Tulip and Celect] filters.”
The judge rejected Cook’s attempt to thwart potentially damaging discovery:
“… Hawkins is the better source for information related to this litigation because he was the president of Cook during the time the Gunther Tulip and Celect IVC filters were manufactured and sold in the United States. Moreover, Hawkins regularly communicated on a personal email account, which Plaintiffs suspect the Cook Defendants did not search when producing responsive documents to their discovery requests. This all suggests that Hawkins has relevant knowledge that is not already available to Plaintiffs.”
The District judge agreed, adding that a review of the sealed documents shows Mr. Hawkins was involved in “strategic decisions regarding the enhancement of the Tulip filter and the development of the Celect filter to increase market share. He was aware of the timetable for the Celect clinical trials and sought to speed up the process to get Celect on the market. Most importantly, the documents reflect that he was aware of the risk that both IVC filters could perforate the wall of the vena cava.”
Cook IVC Filter Lawyers can depose ex-Cook President, says Judge
The Cook Defendants in the case must produce Mr. Hawkins for deposition within two weeks of the Court’s September 13, 2017 Order. The ruling means Plaintiffs are entitled to seek relevant documents from Mr. Hawkins and ask him questions about his personal email account.
The first Cook IVC Filter trial is scheduled for an Indiana courtroom in November, 2017.