On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Joan Erickson of the District of Minnesota granted summary judgment against more than 5,000 lawsuits over 3M’s surgical warming blankets that sought to exclude the plaintiffs’ general causation experts.
The lawsuits coordinated in the MDL alleged that the defendant’s forced-air warming system increased the risk of infection.
Todd Fruchterman, General Manager of 3M Medical Solutions Business, stated that there is no legitimate scientific support for the plaintiffs’ theory. He also stated that they want physicians and patients to understand that the practice of patient warming is supported by leading health care institutions, professional societies, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation coordinated the MDL over the Bair Hugger in 2015. In the first bellwether trial, the defendant won the verdict as a federal jury sided with them. After trial, the defendant filed a motion for the judge to reconsider a 2017 summary judgment. In the renewed motion filed on January 24, they cited newly released scientific research that refuted claims from plaintiffs’ attorney that Bair Hugger disrupted protective “forcefield” around patients during surgery, an idea that plaintiffs’ own expert called “absolute rubbish” and “silly” during the first bellwether trial.
Bair Hugger infection cases are consolidated into 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.