3M Bair Hugger Litigation is Revived Following Appeals Court Ruling

Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley
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Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley

3M Company, the manufacturer of multiple pharmaceutical and consumer products, is the defendant in a large mass tort litigation involving the company’s Bair Hugger warming blankets. According to a report from Reuters, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed a Minnesota trial court’s ruling that effectively halted close to 6,000 pending lawsuits.

The Minnesota trial court judge excluded expert testimony supporting plaintiffs’ claims that 3M’s Bair Hugger warming blankets were defective, causing them to suffer serious infections. The Eighth Circuit’s reversal of the trial court’s ruling allows pending lawsuits to move forward. The trial court judge’s ruling pertains to a 2018 trial that ended in 3M’s favor.

Plaintiffs asserted the trial judge incorrectly excluded expert testimony that the jury did not hear. Had the jury heard the excluded expert testimony for plaintiffs, the trial’s outcome may have been different.

What Are Bair Hugger Warming Blankets?

3M’s Bair Hugger warming blankets are designed for exclusive use during surgeries to prevent hypothermia and keep a patient’s core body temperature at a normal level. Bair Hugger blankets are typically used in orthopedic procedures, such as hip replacement surgeries. Bair Hugger blankets have warming units that filter air and force warm air through the blankets.

Some patients who underwent procedures using Bair Hugger warming patients subsequently suffered from infections, some of which required additional surgeries and leg amputations in some cases. Although warming blankets are necessary to prevent dangerous hypothermia during surgical procedures, patients should not be put at risk of suffering infections that have permanent consequences.

What is Next in the Bair Hugger Litigation?

Now that nearly 6,000 lawsuits have been revived in the Bair Hugger litigation, additional trials may be scheduled that will dictate the path of the litigation. As with many mass tort litigations, multiple trials occur before thousands of cases can be settled as part of a global resolution. Now that plaintiffs’ lawsuits are back on track, at least for now, each of them will have a chance to pursue their cases to trial or to seek resolution through settlement.

If you or a loved one suffered an infection after a procedure involving a Bair Hugger warming blanket, you may have a potential legal claim. Because you have limited time to pursue legal action, you should act swiftly to speak with a lawyer.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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