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Woman and Son Sue Tristar After Pressure Cooker Explodes and Burns Them Both

A Texas woman and her son recently filed a new Tristar pressure cooker lawsuit in the Eastern District of Texas. They claim that the Tristar Power Pressure Cooker XL caused serious injuries and damages, and seek to hold the manufacturer liable.

Tristar Pressure Cooker Manufactured and Tested in China

According to the complaint, the plaintiff’s mother bought a Tristar Power Pressure Cooker XL to give to her daughter as a Christmas gift. She decided to buy it after she and her daughter had viewed the manufacturer’s infomercial promoting the product to consumers. When she received the cooker, she gave it to her daughter. Both women lived in Liberty County, Texas.

This particular Tristar pressure cooker (a 10-quart unit) was manufactured in China by Zhongshan Jinguang Appliance Manufacture Company, Ltd., then sold to third-party vendor Cheer Master. Tristar purchased the unit from Cheer Master, and shipped it to the U.S. Tristar sells other pressure cookers too under the “Power Pressure Cooker” line, including the 8-quart and 6-quart models. These are also manufactured by Jinguang.

All of these pressure cookers are designed to allow pressurization and depressurization. They each have a manual release valve, independent floating valve, locking pin, strike plate silicone gasket, and locking lugs.

Before selling the cookers, Tristar reportedly directly supervised and participated in Jinguang’s testing of the cookers in China. These tests included those meant to evaluate reliability and efficiency. The plaintiff, however, states that the unit did not function as intended and that the safety mechanisms did not perform as expected.

Safety Mechanisms Designed to Protect Consumers

These pressure cookers are designed so that the unit can’t pressurize until the lid is secured in a “locked position,” allowing the float valve to rise and secure pressure inside. The float valve, when engaged, is designed to interact with the strike plate and locking pin, preventing the lid from being removed under pressure.

Tristar’s advertisements, promotions, and users manual all identify the cooker as “the safest” and “easiest to use” pressure cooker on the market because of several “built-in safety features.” These include:

  • Lid Safety Device: Prevents pressure build-up if the lid is not closed and keeps the lid from opening until all pressure is released.
  • Clog Resistant Feature: Prevents food from blocking the steam release port.
  • Spring Loaded Safety Pressure Release: In the event of failure of all other safety features, automatically lowers the inner pot, causing it to separate from the rubber gasket to enable the steam and pressure to escape around the lid, avoiding a dangerous condition.

Tristar Safety Features Don’t Work as Advertised

On July 9, 2019, the plaintiff and her mother decided to use the Tristar pressure cooker to heat gumbo. They had read the label and the instructions for the unit and believed the cooker wouldn’t pressurize without the lid being closed.

The plaintiff’s mother placed the proper amount of gumbo into the cooker, placed the lid on the unit, and turned it until she heard a “click” indicating that it was locked, then pressed the unit’s button to start the cooking process. When the cooking cycle finished, the cooker emitted a sound indicating that it was done.

The plaintiff turned the pressure relief valve to release the pressure. The unit emitted a “hissing” sound indicating the pressure was being released. After the sound stopped, the plaintiff waited a few minutes and then attempted to remove the lid. She had slippery hands, so she asked her son to help. As he turned the lid, it exploded from the unit, spewing the contents onto both people.

Both the plaintiff and her son now suffer from permanent scarring as a result of the incident. Both were forced to miss work and lose wages during their medical care and treatment.

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