December 15, 2015 — Federal judges have consolidated dozens of lawsuits involving joint infections linked to the Bair Hugger device into Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2666) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota under Judge Joan N. Ericksen.
More than 50 lawsuits are now pending in various district courts around the nation, according to the transfer order (PDF) issued by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) in December 11.
Minnesota was selected as the venue for the litigation because 3M Company and Arizant Healthcare are headquartered in the state. Centralization also helps prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, eliminates duplicative discovery, and improves efficiency.
Plaintiffs in the litigation all developed deep joint infections after hip or knee replacement surgery in which the Bair Hugger forced-air warming blanket was used.
Deep joint infections are very serious and treatment is often complex. Many patients must undergo additional surgeries to replace the infected prosthetic joint and treat the infection. Patients who develop antibiotic-resistant infections are more likely to need amputations or suffer life-threatening complications.