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3M claims 'major victory' in medical device litigation

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3M headquarters in Woodbury, Minnesota
This August 25, 2011 photo shows 3M headquarters in Maplewood, Minnesota.
Karen Bleier | AFP | Getty Images 2011

A federal judge has dismissed thousands of lawsuits against the 3M Bair Hugger patient warming system.

The system keeps patients warm before, during and after surgery. 3M says its forced-air heating blankets have been used safety more than 300 million times in the past 30 years.

Plaintiffs' attorneys had contended the system caused infections in wounds. But 3M argued there is no scientific evidence for such claims and a judge granted 3M's request to exclude the plaintiffs’ experts who insisted otherwise.

“There is no legitimate scientific support for the plaintiffs’ theory. We are pleased that the court has dismissed all of the cases in the multidistrict litigation,” said Todd Fruchterman, general manager for 3M Medical Solutions Business, in a prepared statement.

3M said patient warming is supported by health care institutions, professional societies and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Maplewood-based 3M won the only Bair Hugger lawsuit that went to trial. More than 5,000 other lawsuits from across the country had been consolidated in federal court in Minnesota.

At least two similar lawsuits remain in the state court systems in Missouri and Texas.