Bair Hugger - MDL 15-2666

Forced Air Warming Devices Products Liability Litigation


Introduction

This multidistrict litigation (sometimes called an “MDL”) currently consists of more than 200 product liability personal injury cases, and additional cases are expected to be filed in or transferred to this Court in the coming months. These cases involve the Bair Hugger Surgical Warming products, which are medical devices used in an effort to achieve patients' normal body temperature and prevent hypothermia during surgery.

Plaintiffs' counsel maintain that peer-reviewed medical literature in international journals such as the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery reveal problems with forced air warming devices in general, and demonstrate an increased risk of infection with the Bair Hugger device specifically. The plaintiffs allege they developed infections as a result of the use of the Bair Hugger products and allege causes of action relating to the product's design, development, manufacture, testing, regulatory approval process, and marketing. Plaintiffs further allege 3M Company and Arizant Healthcare, Inc. have fraudulently and intentionally concealed knowledge about the dangers associated with use of these products.

Defendants contend that plaintiffs will never be able to prove that their surgical site infections were caused by the Bair Hugger warming system. Defendants contend that, in each of the studies upon which plaintiffs' lawyers rely, the authors themselves explicitly acknowledge that their studies do not establish that the Bair Hugger warming system causes surgical site infections. Defendants further respond that, to the contrary, the body of peer-reviewed scientific literature proves that the Bair Hugger warming system is safe and effective in maintaining normal body temperature during surgery, which brings numerous benefits to patients, including reduced surgical bleeding, decreased post-operative heart attacks, shortened recovery time, improved patient comfort, and reduced risk of infection. Defendants assert that since the Bair Hugger warming system's entry into the market more than 25 years ago, it has safely warmed more than 200 million surgical patients.

On December 11, 2015, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (“JPML”) determined that efficiencies for the parties and the courts could be gained by centralizing these cases, and any other similar case subsequently filed in federal court, for coordinated pretrial proceedings in a single federal district court. The JPML selected the District of Minnesota as the most appropriate transferee district and assigned the litigation to the Honorable Joan N. Ericksen.

Judge Ericksen's Courtroom Deputy, Cathy Cusack, may be contacted at (612) 664-5890.



Plaintiffs' Co-Lead Counsel:

Ben W. Gordon, Jr.
Levin Papantonio, P.A.
316 S. Baylen Street, Suite 600
Pensacola, FL 32502
(850) 435-7090
bgordon@levinlaw.com

Genevieve M. Zimmerman
Meshbesher & Spence, Ltd.
1616 Park Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55404
(612) 339-9121
gzimmerman@meshbesher.com

Michael V. Ciresi
Ciresi Conlin LLP
225 S. 6th St., Suite 4600
Minneapolis, MN 55402
(612) 361-8202
MVC@ciresiconlin.com



Plaintiffs' Executive Committee:

Anne Andrews
Andrews & Thornton, LLC
2 Corporate Park, Suite 110
Irvine CA 92606
(949) 748-1000

Christopher L. Coffin
Pendley, Baudin & Coffin, LLP
1515 Poydras Street, Suite 1400
New Orleans, LA 70118
(504) 355-0086

David W. Hodges
Kennedy Hodges, LLP
711 W. Alabama Street
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 523-0001

Behram V. Parekh
Kirtland and Packard, LLP
2041 Rosecrans Avenue, Third Floor
El Segundo, California 90245
(310) 536-1000



Liaison Counsel:

David Szerlag
Pritzker Hageman, PA
Plaza Seven Bldg., Suite 2950
45 South Seventh Street
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Phone: (612) 338-0202



Defendants' Lead Counsel:

Jerry W. Blackwell
BLACKWELL BURKE P.A.
431 South Seventh Street
Suite 2500
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone: (612) 343-3256
Fax: (612) 343-3205
Email: blackwell@blackwellburke.com