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Today, a U.S. Judicial on Multidistrict Litigation panel of federal judges will hear arguments on Plaintiffs’ request to consolidate all of the knee and hip infection lawsuits that have been filed in federal court claims the infection was allegedly caused by a 3M Bair Hugger warming blanket.

What These Bair Hugger Cases Are About

Bair Hugger MDL Coming Soon?

Bair Hugger MDL Coming Soon?

A Bair Hugger device is a temperature management system that is used during surgery.  The purpose of the invention is to help the body regulate the appropriate temperature. The Bair Hugger pushed hot air through a hose into a blanket specially made to work with the device.

Keeping a patient warm is particularly useful during knee and hip replacement surgery because the procedures tend to be long.   The body loses heat increasingly over the course of surgery.

Another thing about metal hip and knee replacement surgery is that your body is particularly prone to infection. Why?  The metal helps spread the infection.

So if you are not already familiar with this litigation, you know where this is going. The device is blowing bacteria on the patient.  If bacteria in a surgical site is not bad enough, the metal helps grease the wheels of further infection.

One estimate puts the number of surgical procedures using the Bair Hugger at over 100 million.  These will likely be thousands of lawsuits.  At the core of these claims will be the idea that the design of these blowers was flawed.  Given the risks of blowing bacteria in the surgical area, plaintiffs’ lawsuits allege that the Bair Hugger should have been designed to prevent internal contamination and the emission of airborne contamination.  One big problem for 3M is going to be a study that found that 96% of the Bair Hugger systems were dispersing inordinately excessive levels of contaminants.

This will also be a “what did you know and when did you know it?” lawsuit.  Plaintiffs’ lawsuits will also contend that setting aside the design failure and the failure to test, the manufacturer knew or should have known of the risk of infection the Bair Hugger was causing and did nothing about it.

Bair Hugger Class Action

I’m using the phrase “class action” but that is not really what plaintiffs’ lawyers are seeking.  The are more of a “sort of” class action called an MDL.  I explain more fully what an MDL is here. If the MDL panel agrees with the plaintiffs’ attorneys, all of the cases federal Bair Hugger cases would be consolidated into one case under one federal court judge.  Pre-trial discovery into issues common to all of the cases would be conducted.  Typically, the MDL judge will preside over a few trials to help the parties better understand the value of the claims. If that does not lead to a global settlement, the cases would be sent to local federal courts around the country for pre-trial discovery specific to that case and then trial.

3M opposes consolidation of the cases.  But I think it is inevitable.  Even if the MDL Panel denies this effort, the sheer number of cases is going to cause the judges to agree to consolidation.

Getting a Lawyer

Our law firm is signing up clients for what we believe will be MDL class action claim consolidated under one federal court judge in the Bair Hugger infection cases. Our focus is on kneed and hip cases where the victim needed to undergo subsequent treatment or subsequent surgery for an infection, call us at 800-553-8082 or get a free consultation online.

 

 

 

 

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A South Dakota judge ruled this week that health care providers are subject to negligent credentialing lawsuits when they fail to properly malletjusticecredential doctors.

Judge Bruce Anderson made another important ruling: that even people on the credentialing committee may be subject to suit.   This has not real practical implications because a hospitals is going to stand behind the committee.  But it is never fun to be sued personally even if you have no real exposure.

The judge also found that hospitals cannot claim peer review privileges, as an absolute defense against discovery requests.  This is very pro patient safety and could be a ruling that could start to erode the absolute defense from discovery; that has long been the case in Maryland and in most states. The judge’s logic: hospitals may have an obligation, in some cases, to the public that outweighs peer review confidentiality.  Makes a lot of sense to me.

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Legal writingThis is a sample demand letter in a relatively small case with approximately $8,000 in medical bills.  But this case settled for a lot more than any kind of simple multiplier of medical bills.   This times special damages math is dangerous when it causes plaintiffs’ personal injury lawyers (and victims) to substantially undervalue a claim.

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Bad news for Plaintiffs’ in the first liver damage lawsuit involving Tylenol.  A ten juror panel in New Jersey found for Johnson & Johnson (J&J) on all counts on Friday.  This is the first Tylenol liver damage lawsuit to go to trial.  It will not be the last.

RisperdalclaimsThe lawsuit alleged that a 55 year old woman suffered liver damage as the result of the use of Extra Strength Tylenol.  But the jury seemed to find that the injuries occurred before she took Tylenol.

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Big update in the pelvic mesh lawsuits and it is not a good one.  A Texas jury yesterday found for Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) Ethicon division in a Gravel and Moneypelvic mesh claim.  Twelve Dallas jurors found that the Prosima pelvic mesh, given to women who suffer from pelvic organ prolapse, was not defective in its design, and that J&J did not fail to properly inform doctors of the risks and problems associated with this product.   It was no slam dunk.  Unlike a lot of states, Texas does not require an unanimous verdict in civil cases.  So a 10-2 vote was good enough for J&J to eke out a win.

It is just one case, but I’m not going to lie, this was one the Plaintiffs’ wanted to win.  I’ll be honest about something else.  I’m surprised J&J let this case go to trial.  They have been picking off cases to avoid a bellwether effect on settlement value that is going to wildly increase the expectations of Plaintiffs and make these cases that much harder to settle.  On this one, they gambled and won.

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A recent study of jury verdicts found that the average personal injury jury verdict in Pennsylvania is $903,705.00.Pennsylvania Sign

Now let’s turn the kaleidoscope and look at the median.  If you remember from the 9th grade, the median is found by ranking the data from biggest to smallest, and then identifying the middle of the data so that there is an equal number that are larger and smaller on each side.  If you had 1001 data points, the 500th biggest number would be in the middle.

For many groups of data, the gap between the average and the median is the same or very close to it.  With personal injury verdicts, they are usually light years apart.  This is reflected in this new study that just came out in Pennsylvania.  The median compensatory award in Pennsylvania in the study was was $45,000.00

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Jury Verdict Research conducted a study and found that the median award in a personal injury case is approximately $100,000.  This is twice the national average.  The bad news for New Jersey PlaintiffsNew Jersey sign is that they only win in 36 percent of personal injury cases that go to trial.

New Jersey has a good sample size to work with to compute this data.  Over 130,000 civil lawsuits are filed every year.  I don’t have data on how many of them are personal injury cases.  But I can estimate: a lot.

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The United States uses a federalist system of government. This allows each of the fifty states to be fairly autonomous and limits the amount of power that the federal government possesses. One of the consequences of having this type of system is that there are state entities and federal entities. Courts are a prime example. There are both federal and  state courts, so it is important to have a grasp of their respective purposes and powers.

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Here are 5 interesting jury verdicts in 2015 that you might finding interesting:

$13,000 Settlement – A 31 year-old man is driving his car on the highway at a rate of around 60 mph. He approaches an intersection where a woman driving a pickup truck is attempting to vaflagmake a turn in the middle of the intersection. She starts to travel out into the intersection but stops upon seeing another driver’s car trying to make a left turn in front of her. Contact was unavoidable at that point, and the woman clips the man’s tires. He immediately complains of neck pain and is transported to the hospital via EMS, where doctors diagnose him with soft tissue injuries. He sues both of the involved drivers, claiming that they were negligent in the operation of their vehicles. The defendants contend that plaintiffs injuries were actually from a motorcycle accident that he sustained years ago. Prior to trial, the parties settle for $13,000.

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A category of medications known as SGLT2 Inhibitors has recently garnered some negative attention, including some heat from the FDA. These Type 2 diabetes drugs are successful and fairly well known; however the FDA and users are starting to become wary of potential side effects.bloodstream

SGLT2 Inhibitor Side Effects

Users of SGLT2 inhibitors such as Invokana/Farxiga have started reporting that the drug produces an adverse side-effect called ketoacidosis. This condition occurs when acid builds up in the blood, leading to a myriad of issues and complications. Ketoacidosis is typically experienced by those with Type 1 diabetes because their bodies do not produce insulin. Their bodies cannot rely on glucose (sugar) to operate, so they feed on fat cells. If you ever hear people raving about a low carb or Atkins diet, this is the same reason why. The decreased carb intake, forces the body into a similar but different state called ketosis, which transfers the body’s fuel over from carbs and glucose to fat. This is why people can shed weight so quickly on those diets.

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