Nearly three dozen hip and knee infection lawsuits have been tapped as possible candidates for the first federal trials involving the 3M Company’s Bair Hugger surgical warming system. Those trials are likely to begin next February in the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, after this group of cases has been reduced to an 8-member Final Bellwether Trial Pool.
At least 1,500 Bair Hugger lawsuits are pending in the District of Minnesota, where federal product liability claims involving the forced air warmer system’s alleged association with debilitating deep joint infections are undergoing coordinated pretrial proceedings. The litigation’s bellwether trials will allow the Court and the parties to gain some insight into how other juries might rule in similar hip and knee infection claims.
The bellwether case list was submitted to the Court on April 7th, and includes a total of 34 Bair Hugger lawsuits. Each of the parties selected 16 cases from a group of 150 federal claims that had been randomly chosen by the Court. That list encompassed 31 cases, as the parties each selected an overlapping case. They also each identified two additional cases that were pending in Ramsey County, Minnesota, including another overlapping, for a total of three.
These 34 lawsuits will now undergo limited case-specific discover before the list is narrowed down to an 8-case Final Bellwether Trial Pool. Once bellwether case discovery, challenges to the admissibility of expert witness testimony and any dispositive motions are completed, the first Bair Hugger case could go before a jury on February 2, 2018.
According to RXInjuryHelp.com, the Bair Hugger forced air warming system is designed to prevent hypothermia in patients undergoing joint replacement and other surgical procedures. However, plaintiffs claim that the apparatus can alter the laminar airflow of the operating room, allowing bacteria and other contaminants from the operating room floor to come in to contact with the surgical wound. This may result in a debilitating deep joint infection that will require hip or knee replacement patients to endure multiple surgeries and other medical interventions.
Bernstein Liebhard LLP is representing plaintiffs in Bair Hugger lawsuits. If you are interested in filing a similar case, please contact our office by calling (888) 498-0029.