A manufacturing defect causes the Crock-Pot Express Pressure Cooker to unexpectedly spray its scalding contents to explode and burn users, a federal lawsuit filed this week says. According to a news report in the Sun-Sentinel, the lawsuit, which seeks a class action status, says the appliances were built with a defective pressure release valve that inaccurately indicates that pressure built up during the cooking process has escaped and that the cooker is safe to open.
The product defect also includes a faulty gasket that enables users to open the lid when contents are still under pressure. The cooker’s manufacturer, Florida-based Sunbeam Products, says it should not be possible to open the cooker when contents are still under pressure. The lawsuit against Sunbeam states that one of the two plaintiffs, an Illinois woman, carefully followed the instructions in the owner’s manual when making chicken and rice soup for her family in January 2018.
Serious Burn Injuries Reported
After the cooking process was complete, Kimberly Rife released the pressure via the steam release valve. The pushed the stop button after the steam stopped. She also waited several minutes before opening the lid. What she did not know was the contents were still under pressure. When she opened the lid, the cooker’s hot contents exploded out of the pot causing severe burns to her hand, wrist and stomach. She was transported to a hospital for treatment for first- and second-degree burns.
Five users reported on Amazon in 2018 that they were injured by unexpected explosions. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages against Sunbeam for failing to warn consumers about the design defects. If certified as a class, all purchasers and users of the Crock-Pot Pressure Cookers would be given the opportunity to be named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit. So far, the products have not been recalled. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is investigating the product.
Product Liability Issues
This is not the first pressure cooker to have problems. In 2015, more than 1,100 Instant Pot pressure cookers were recalled because they posed the risk of electric shock. There are also other pending lawsuits against pressure cooker manufacturers in cases where individuals have suffered serious injuries because of contents under pressure exploding.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An experienced product defect attorney will be able to help you better understand your legal rights and options.