Bair Hugger Lawsuit Defendants Seek Testimony from Overseas Witnesses

Published on August 2, 2016 by Sandy Liebhard

The defendants named in hundreds of Bair Hugger lawsuits are seeking testimony from a number of potential witnesses based in the U.K. and Australia. According to documents pending in the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, the individuals in questions have authored studies cited by plaintiffs who currently have cases pending in the multidistrict litigation.

More than 450 product liability claims have been filed in the District of Minnesota on behalf of hip and knee replacement patients who allegedly develop serious post-operative joint infections due to the 3M Company’s Bair Hugger surgical warming blanket. Plaintiffs allege that these infections are the result of a defect in the apparatus that allows potentially contaminated air from the operating room floor to come into contact with the sterile surgical site. They further claim that 3M and its Arizant Healthcare, Inc. subsidiary have been aware of this alleged flaw for years, yet failed to provide any warnings to doctors or hospitals.

Defendants Seek Assistance from U.K., Australian Court Authorities

Bair Hugger lawsuit plaintiffs have cited a number of studies which they contend document the adverse effects of the forced air warming blanket. Last month, the judge overseeing the federal multidistrict litigation in Minnesota issued a letter to the Senior Master of the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, Royal Courts of Justice, asking that the U.K.-based authors of this research be compelled to submit to depositions and produce documents that are material and necessary of the resolution to the U.S. litigation.  3M and Arizant assert that they are “entitled to discover any information these individuals have about the studies relied upon by Plaintiffs, because the study authors themselves disclaim any proof of causation within the context of any particular study.”

According to a Notice filed with the Court on August 1st, 3M and Arizant are seeking testimony from an Australian scientist whose research is also cited by plaintiffs. As such, they plan to motion the Court to issue a similar letter to the Principal Registrar of the Supreme Court of Western Australia. Plaintiffs have indicated that they will not oppose the motion, and a hearing to address the matter is expected to be convened sometime in the near future.

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