3M Bair Hugger Litigation: 8 Bellwether Cases Dismissed

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3M managed to get two bellwether cases dismissed this December linked to lawsuits filed by patients who claimed they got severe infections due to the company's Bair Hugger warming system. The latest dismissal, which came on December 3, involved claims filed by two plaintiffs:  Ruth and Douglas Goodpaster, and Terry Arnold.

So far, eight bellwether cases which were considered as representative of the entire pool of cases were dismissed voluntarily by plaintiffs' attorneys. The only bellwether case that went to trial was ruled in favor of 3M in less than two hours of deliberation. The first bellwether trial for claims filed by Louis Gareis was dismissed in June 2018, and his appeal for a new trial was rejected in September 2018. On October 30, 2018, Lawyer Seth Webb voluntarily excluded two more cases, David Henderson v. 3M and Julio & Maria Ramirez v. 3M. Also, a trial scheduled for December 3, 2018 - the bellwether case of Nancy Axline v. 3M - was dropped from the court's list after most of her claims made were dismissed by the Minnesota federal court in September 2018. Nancy's case has not been formally dismissed yet.

Overall, more than 550 Bair Hugger lawsuits filed against 3M have been dismissed. The cases were dismissed based on a variety of reasons: plaintiffs failed to support their claims; voluntary dismissal by the plaintiff's attorney; no proven use of Bair Hugger system during surgery; plaintiffs failed to comply with the court orders.

3M maintains its warming blanket system has been in the market for more than 30 years and is completely safe to use. The company blames the entire litigation on faulty science projected by their competitors to spoil the reputation of the warming system. Bair Hugger infection cases are consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2666; In Re: Bair Hugger Forced Air Warming Devices Products Liability Litigation) in the District of Minnesota before U.S. District Judge Joan Ericksen.

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