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Minestrone soup being prepared in an InstantPot Pressure Cooker

On January 7, 2020, an Illinois woman filed a new class-action lawsuit in the Southern District of Florida. She claims that she was seriously injured by a Crock-Pot Pressure Cooker, and now she wants to represent all others in the U.S. who purchased and used the product in her quest for compensation.

Plaintiff Scalded by Pressure Cooker Explosion

According to the complaint, the plaintiff acquired a new Crock-Pot Pressure Cooker as a gift from her daughter in December 2017. The package contained the instruction manual, which the plaintiff says she used carefully.

On January 8, 2018, the plaintiff cooked chicken and rice soup using the product’s soup and pressure cooker setting. She followed the owner’s guide instructions, and after the cooking process was complete, she released the pressure via the steam release valve and watched until the steam stopped, then pressed the stop button. She also waited many minutes before attempting to open the lid.

Unfortunately, despite the pressure cooker’s purported built-in safety features, there was still a significant and dangerous amount of pressure inside the appliance. A lid safety device was supposed to prevent the lid from opening under those circumstances, but the plaintiff alleges she was able to easily remove it. When she did, the scalding hot contents exploded out of the pot, spraying the contents onto the plaintiff and around the kitchen area.

The plaintiff suffered from first- and second-degree burns to her hand, wrist, and stomach. She was taken to the emergency room and then to an urgent care center, where her burns were treated. She endured a long period of pain and suffering and has been left with scars.

Plaintiff Claims Crock-Pot Pressure Cooker is Defective

The Crock-Pot brand electric slow cooker was introduced to the market in 1971 and is manufactured by Sunbeam. It quickly became popular, with sales growing from $2 million in 1971 to $93 million four years later.

Then in 2010, the Instant Pot came onto the market, offering families the benefits of pressure cooking in an accelerated amount of time. The product was a success, challenging the Crock-Pot’s dominance on the market. To compete, Sunbeam introduced the Crock-Pot Express Pressure Cooker, emphasizing its safety features and stating in advertisements that the “airtight lid stays locked until pressure is released.”

The plaintiff claims that the product is defective and that the safety features don’t work as advertised. Defects, according to her, include the pressure release valve that “inaccurately indicates that the built-up pressure has escaped the appliance,” and a faulty gasket that “allows the lid to open despite the presence of significant built-up pressure.”

The plaintiff states that the defendant knew or should have known about the defects, but failed to warn consumers of the serious safety risks. “Defendant’s Pressure Cooker cannot be used safely for its intended purpose of preparing meals at home,” she states.

Other consumers have had similar experiences with the pressure cooker. In one Amazon review on the product, the customer states that the product blew up. “We were steaming corn,” the customer writes, “the screen still read heat, we were cooking (luckily) on the other countertop and the lid exploded and all the contents blew out. We had hot water splatter on a wall 6 feet away and on the ceiling. I got scalding water on my foot, thank goodness I still had shoes on or it would have been much worse.”

Many other customers warn that the product is defective, stating that it stopped working after a short time, had parts that broke off, came up with error codes not shown in the manual, and more.

“After 2 months this product exploded on my daughter leaving her with 2nd-degree burns on her face and chest,” one user writes. “It needs to be recalled.”

So far, there has been no recall on this product. The plaintiff brings counts of breach of warranties, negligence, unjust enrichment, manufacturing and design defect, and more, and seeks class-action status, payment of all damages, and a declaration that the pressure cooker is defective.

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