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3M Turned Down by US Supreme Court on Medical Blanket Lawsuits

May 16, 2022, 9:43 PM

3M Co. lost a bid Monday for US Supreme Court review of a decision reinstating consolidated litigation over Bair Hugger surgical warming blankets that allegedly caused severe infections.

3M asked the Supreme Court in February to hear the case, saying the Eighth Circuit applied an erroneously permissive standard in allowing the joint-replacement patients’ expert witnesses.

The Bair Hugger consists of a portable heater and blower connected by a flexible hose to a blanket. It warms patients by blowing heated air through the blanket onto their exposed skin. Plaintiffs allege the device disrupts the airflow in operating rooms, allowing contaminated air to cause infection at the surgical site.

The lawsuits were combined in multidistrict litigation in the US District Court for the District of Minnesota, which dismissed them in 2019.

In August 2021, the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit revived the nearly 6,000 suits.

The justices declined the case in a brief order. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. didn’t participate in the decision.

Gupta Wessler PLLC was counsel of record for the plaintiffs. Kirkland & Ellis LLP represented 3M.

The case is 3M Co. v. Amador, 2022 BL 167828, U.S., No. 21-1100, certiorari denied 5/16/22.

To contact the reporter on this story: Martina Barash in Washington at mbarash@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Steven Patrick at spatrick@bloomberglaw.com