Bair Hugger May 2023 Updates

The Bair Hugger lawsuits aren’t uncommon. In recent years, numerous product liability cases have been filed against 3M Company and Arizant Healthcare, Inc., who design, manufacture, and market this invention. The product liability attorneys at H&P Law provide an overview of the Bair Hugger product defect and the recent updates on the litigation.

What Is The Bair Hugger Lawsuit About?

Plaintiffs in this lawsuit allege that Bair Hugger, a medical device helpful in regulating a patient’s body temperature during surgical procedures, caused deep joint infections, requiring additional hospitalization, medication, and surgeries. Some lawsuits also claimed that the device led to severe burns, blood clots, and nerve damage.

Not all patients using Bair Hugger suffered injuries, and the device remains in use worldwide. The allegations are based on a relatively small yet substantial number. 

The claims suggest a substantial product defect. It blows bacteria to the patient as the germs are expelled from the interior of the blower traveling via its hose into the blanket, dispersing an inordinate amount of contaminants on the operating table.

When Did It All Begin?

The first ever Bair Hugger case was filed by 70-year-old Tommy Walton for $1 million in March 2013 as he claimed to have contracted a severe post-op infection after using the warming blanket during his hip surgery in 2011.

Although Walton didn’t win the case, it instigated a series of similar lawsuits between 2013 and 2015. These claimed that the warming blanket led to airborne bacteria contaminating the incisions of the patients. 

Fourteen cases were consolidated into a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) in 2015. Five bellwether cases were chosen for trials in 2017. The first case was lost to the defendant in 2018. 

Before the second bellwether, a Senior Judge at United States District Court of Minnesota granted a Summary Judgment in favor of 3M. The Eighth Circuit ruling overturned this judgment suggesting that the evidence against the defendants was strong enough to be admissible in court. Plus, 3M’s appeal to Supreme Court was denied, which led to the reopening of the cases.

Fast Forward to May 2023

As of May 2023, more than 5,600 plaintiffs are part of this class action lawsuit. Plaintiffs have also filed a disqualification motion against the US District Judge, and the Federal Magistrate Judge involved in the Multidistrict Litigation for engaging a retired products liability defense attorney as an adviser. 

The lawyers are trying to boot the district judge for overseeing the stalled litigation four years after unsuccessful trials to dismiss the suits. The judge hasn’t responded to the motion yet, and according to the federal court rules, they aren’t under any obligation and deadline to act. 

In addition, the magistrate judge has been linked to owning over 70 3M shares worth $15,000 for two years while involved in the Bair Hugger litigation. Plaintiffs allege that he had a financial stake in the case, to which 3M responded that the judge had notified both sides’ attorneys about him unknowingly purchasing the stock through his money manager. After knowing about the investment, he claimed to have ousted himself from those stocks. 

Despite some early setbacks on the face of the plaintiffs, we believe the cases would end relatively well in their favor. This year will see new momentum and set history for this product defect lawsuit.  

Suffered Injuries? File a Bair Hugger Lawsuit With Us.

If you believe you have been harmed by using a Bair Hugger during surgery, it is crucial to speak with an experienced product liability attorney at H&P Law today. We can evaluate your case and determine if you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact us at (702) 598-4529 for a free initial, confidential consultation today.

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