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Husa v. Laboratories Servier SA.

November 12, 1999

HELEN HUSA, JOHN WILLIAMS, GERALDINE A. WILLIAMS, MONA MAGLONE, AND ANDREA KRINSKY, ON BEHALF OF THEMSELVES AND THE CLASS OF SIMILARLY SITUATED NEW JERSEY RESIDENTS, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
LABORATOIRES SERVIER SA, AMERICAN HOME PRODUCTS CORPORATION, INTERNEURON PHARMACEUTICALS, INC., WYETH LABORATORIES, INC., WYETH-AYERST INTERNATIONAL LTD., INC., A.H. ROBINS COMPANY, INC., GATE PHARMACEUTICALS, SMITHKLINE BEECHAM CORPORATION, SEATRACE PHARMACEUTICALS, INC., ABANA PHARMACEUTICALS, INC., RICHWOOD PHARMACEUTICALS, COMPANY INC., ION LABORATORIES, INC., MEDEVA PHARMACEUTICALS, INC., AND FISONS PHARMACEUTICALS, DEFENDANTS.
DEBRA MCKEOWN AND THOMAS MCKEOWN, PLAINTIFFS-RESPONDENTS,
v.
LABORATOIRES SERVIER SA, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT, AND AMERICAN HOME PRODUCTS CORPORATION, WYETH LABORATORIES, INC., WYETH-AYERST LABORATORIES A DIVISION OF AMERICAN HOME PRODUCTS CORPORATION, AND A.H. ROBINS COMPANY, INC., DEFENDANTS.



Before Judges D'Annunzio, Newman and Fall.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: D'annunzio, J.A.D.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued September 28, 1999

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County.

This is a personal injury action against Les Laboratoires Servier (LS), a French pharmaceutical corporation, and other defendants. Plaintiffs-respondents, Debra and Thomas McKeown, sought to take the depositions of three individuals living in France who either had or have high-ranking employment with LS. LS moved for an order requiring use of the Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil or Commercial Matters (Convention), 28 U.S.C.A. §1781. We granted LS leave to appeal from a trial court ruling that declined to apply the Convention. We now reverse.

Thirty nations have acceded to the Convention, including the United States and France. One of its stated purposes is "to improve mutual judicial co-operation in civil or commercial matters." The Convention's core mechanism is the "Letter of Request." Article 1 provides that "a judicial authority of a Contracting State may, in accordance with the provisions of the law of that State, request the competent authority of another Contracting State, by means of a Letter of Request, to obtain evidence, or to perform some other judicial act." A Letter may be used only to obtain evidence "for use in judicial proceedings commenced or contemplated." Ibid. Article 2 of the Convention requires each Contracting State to designate a Central Authority "to receive Letters of Request . . . and to transmit them to the authority competent to execute them." Article 2.

Article 3 provides in part:

A Letter of Request shall specify -

(a) the authority requesting its execution and the authority requested to execute it, if known to the requesting authority;

(b) the names and addresses of the parties to the proceedings and their representatives, if any;

(c) the nature of the proceedings for which the evidence is required, giving all necessary information in regard thereto;

(f) the questions to be put to the persons to be examined or a statement of the subject-matter about which they are to be examined;

(g) the documents or other property, real or personal, to be inspected;

(h) any requirements that the evidence is to be given on oath or affirmation, and any ...


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