January 2019

3M’s Bair Hugger Patient Warming System Vindicated in Appellate Win

United States - Minnesota

3M Company secured a marquee victory when the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed a grant of summary judgment that ended dozens of product liability cases against its Bair Hugger system™, a medical device used to keep patients warm during surgery.

Faegre Baker Daniels defended 3M against the plaintiffs’ appeal of a lower court decision alleging that the Bair Hugger caused surgical-site infections for patients who underwent hip and knee replacement surgery. 

The trial court had excluded the plaintiffs’ expert testimony and granted summary judgment after finding that the expert testimony failed to meet the requirements of Rule 702 of Minnesota’s Rules of Evidence and the related Frye-Mack standard, which require that an expert’s “novel scientific theory” be based on “generally accepted” underlying scientific evidence. 

On appeal, a FaegreBD appellate team demonstrated that the plaintiffs’ experts’ “science” had been entirely created for litigation and that the plaintiffs’ theory that the Bair Hugger caused surgical-site infections was far from being generally accepted and was in fact universally rejected by the international medical community. The Minnesota Court of Appeals agreed and affirmed summary judgment for 3M.

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