The federal litigation that now houses hundreds of product liability lawsuits involving the 3M Company’s Bair Hugger surgical warming system will convene its December Status Conference later this week. According to the Court’s calendar, the conference will commence at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, December 15th.
At least 889 Bair Hugger lawsuits are pending in the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, where all federal hip and knee infection lawsuits citing the device have been centralized for coordinated pretrial proceedings. This week’s conference will provide an opportunity for the parties to update the Court on the status of discovery and other issues impacting the progress of the proceeding.
The Bair Hugger system is used by hospitals throughout the U.S. to stave off hypothermia in patients undergoing orthopedic surgery and other procedures. However, plaintiffs pursuing Bair Hugger lawsuits claim that the apparatus suffers from a design defect that allows potentially contaminated air from the operating room floor to come into contact with the sterile surgical field, greatly increasing the risk that a hip or knee implant patient will develop a deep joint infection following their surgery. The defendants are accused of ignoring this alleged flaw for years, and of failing to make design changes or provide appropriate safety warnings to the medical community.
Late last month, the Court overseeing the federal Bair Hugger litigation issued an Order outlining the process by which cases will be selected for the litigation’s first bellwether trials. According to RXInjuryHelp.com, these trials will involve cases representative of others pending in the Bair Hugger litigation, and could provide insight into how juries might decide similar cases. The November 16th Order indicates that bellwether selection will initially begin with a pool of 150 chosen by the Court at random from all lawsuits filed as of December 19, 2016. Plaintiffs and defendants will then each select 16 cases from that pool, as well as one or two related claims pending in Minnesota’s Ramsey County District Court as of December 19, 2016. The Court is to be notified of these bellwether nominations by January 20, 2017.
The parties must agree on and submit to the Court a list of the eight “most representative” lawsuits from the nominated cases as of February 10, 2017. Each may submit their own list of eight if they are unable to reach agreement. Aa Final Bellwether Trial Pool consisting of up to 8 cases will be selected by the Court no later than March 1, 2017.
Bernstein Liebhard LLP represents plaintiffs in Bair Hugger lawsuits. To learn more, please call (888) 707-5440 to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.