Bair Hugger Litigation to Convene Status Conference This Week

Published on February 14, 2017 by Laurie Villanueva

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The litigation involving the 3M Company’s Bair Hugger forced air warming blanket continues to move forward in the federal multidistrict litigation underway in Minnesota. According to the Court’s calendar, the litigation’s next Status Conference will be convened on Thursday, February 16th at 9:30 a.m., CST.

Court records indicate that more than 1,100 cases are now pending in the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, where all product liability claims involving the Bair Hugger’s alleged association with post-op deep joint infections have been centralized for coordinated pretrial proceedings. According to a recent Reuters report, the proceeding remains one for the fastest growing multidistrict litigations on the federal docket.

According to RXInjuryHelp.com, the Bair Hugger system is used by more than 80% of the nation’s hospitals to prevent hypothermia in patients during surgery.  The apparatus works by drawing ambient air into a portable heating unit. The warmed air is then gently forced though a plastic tube into an inflatable, single-use blanket that has been placed over the patient.

First Bair Hugger Trial Scheduled for February ‘18

All of the Bair Hugger lawsuits pending in Minnesota ware filed on behalf of patients who allegedly developed deep joint infections following hip and knee replacement surgeries with the forced air warming system. They allege the device suffers from a design defect that allows air from the operating room floor to come into contact with a surgical patient’s open wound, making it far more likely that an individual undergoing joint replacement will develop a potentially-debilitating infection at the site of their implant. Plaintiffs further allege that the 3M Company and Arizant Healthcare have known about this issue for years, but have not taken corrective action or warned doctors about the risks associated with the Bair Hugger.

The federal Bair Hugger litigation was established in order to promote judicial efficiency. Last year, the Court selected 150 cases for the proceeding’s initial discovery pool. The Court had directed each of the parties to select 16 to 18 cases from that pool, all of which will undergo limited case-specific discovery. Eventually, a Final Bellwether Trial Pool consisting of 8 Bair Hugger lawsuits will be selected from that group for a series of bellwether trials, with the first schedule to begin on February 8, 2018. It is expected that verdicts in these trials will provide some insight into how juries might rule in similar hip and knee replacement lawsuits.

Bernstein Liebhard LLP continues to offer free legal reviews to hip and knee replacement patients who allegedly developed deep joint infection due to the Bair Hugger. To learn more, please call (888) 707-5440.

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