On December 11, 2015, the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) entered a Transfer Order centralizing fourteen actions with nine that were already pending in the District of Minnesota. The court assigned the cases to the Honorable Joan N. Ericksen for coordinated and consolidated proceedings. Notably, the 3M and Arizant Defendants are headquarted in Minnesota. Similarly, many witnesses and documentary evidence are expected to be situated in Minnesota. These Defendants supported centralization in the District of Minnesota but attempted to exclude other actions that had already been proceedings for some period before recent case filings. The JPML rejected related reasoning and found that including those actions in the MDL No. 2666 would benefit the litigation as a whole. The Bair Hugger MDL No. 2666 will likely hold a status conference in coming weeks to organize the newly formed MDL.
The JPML concluded that the cases share common questions of fact such that centralization would benefit the just and efficient administration of justice and the convenience of the parties. Complex cases are often centralized to avoid the duplication of efforts in discovery, prevent inconsistent evidentiary rulings and conserving the resource of all parties, including the judiciary or court system. In this case, they share factual issues arising out of allegations that litigants developed serious infections during their orthopedic surgeries. The alleged common denominator in the surgeries was use of “forced air warming” technology and more specifically the “Bair Hugger Forced Air Warming system”.
We previously explained how focus was growing over use of forced air warming technology in the operating theater. In “Joint Infection Lawsuit Investigation Over “Bair Hugger Forced Air Warming Systems“, dated August 4, 2015, we reviewed background giving rise to questions over safety and related science. Please contact us for up to date information regarding our investigation or for a FREE CONSULTATION.