The first Bellwether trial in Bair Hugger System multidistrict litigation (MDL) commenced on May 14, 2018, in Minnesota Federal Court. According to Louis Gareis, the plaintiff from South Carolina, who underwent a total knee replacement surgery in November 2016, stated that 3M’s forced-air heating blanket was defectively designed, which led to the surgery site infection eight months post-surgery. Gareis sued 3M Co. and Arizant Healthcare Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, alleging that his infection was caused by microorganisms aerosolized in the operating room floor.
In October 2017, Judge Joan N. Ericksen, the presiding Judge for MDL No: 2666, in the District of Minnesota, released an order for the case-specific discovery of similar 3M cases to be trial ready by April 30, 2018.
The trial for Louis Gareis’ case is expected to last three weeks. Verdicts from this bellwether trial will provide insights into how the jury will react in similar cases. There are more than 4,000 lawsuits pending against 3M in the federal multidistrict litigation.