More and more cases fall by the wayside

Plaintiff’s attorneys drop next bellwether case before trial

Four bellwether cases already dismissed

Plaintiff’s attorneys have dismissed another bellwether case slated for trial in the litigation involving the 3M™ Bair Hugger™ system, marking the fourth such case to be dismissed before ever coming to trial.

On July 10, attorneys for Laura Hives asked a Minnesota federal court to dismiss the case. Hives, who claimed she contracted an infection during a July 2015 surgery, and is represented by Martin Crump of Davis & Crump in Gulfport, Miss., did not state a reason for seeking the dismissal.

The litigation involving the Bair Hugger warming system is consolidated in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) proceeding in Minneapolis. In an MDL, the court tries cases that are emblematic of the other cases in the MDL. These are known as bellwether cases, and the outcomes of these cases can be used to help determine how to best resolve the remaining claims.

The dismissals support 3M’s position that none of these cases have merit. Every lawsuit filed to date relies on a handful of studies supported by a 3M competitor, and every one of those studies acknowledges that there is no proof the Bair Hugger system causes infections.

In the Bair Hugger litigation, attorneys for the plaintiffs and 3M have undergone two rounds of selecting bellwether cases. In each round, attorneys for the plaintiffs and 3M first selected a pool of 16 cases, which was ultimately narrowed further.

In the first bellwether pool, plaintiff’s attorneys dismissed three cases before trial and one was removed from the bellwether pool. Only one case in the first pool has gone to trial, and a jury in May took less than two hours to find in favor of 3M.

Because of the bellwether dismissals, attorneys from both sides nominated a second group of cases to serve as the next round of bellwether trials. Hives, which was one of those cases and one of the two cases next slated for trial, is now dismissed by the plaintiff’s attorneys.

The next bellwether case slated for trial is Axline v. 3M and is scheduled to begin December 3, 2018.