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Pressure Cooker Stuffed Pepper Soup

A Florida judge recently granted in part and denied in part pressure cooker manufacturer Sunbeam’s motion to dismiss a Crock-Pot Pressure Cooker lawsuit filed back in January 2020 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Though some of the claims were dismissed, others were allowed to move forward, which means this case will proceed and the plaintiffs still have a chance to gain compensation for the injuries they claim they suffered because the pressure cooker was allegedly defective.

Plaintiff Suffered First- and Second-Degree Burns After Pressure Cooker Exploded 

The two plaintiffs are from Illinois. They filed a Crock-Pot Express Pressure Cooker Class-Action lawsuit on January 7, 2020.

In their complaint, the plaintiffs claimed that the Crock-Pot pressure cooker was defective and could explode during normal use, posing a burning hazard for consumers. Specifically, the cooker has a defective pressure release valve that inaccurately indicates that the built-up pressure has escaped the appliance.

The defect also includes a faulty gasket that allows the lid to open despite the presence of a significant build-up of pressure.

One of the plaintiffs experienced this issue. After acquiring the cooker, she was using it to prepare dinner for her family on January 8, 2018. After the cooking process was complete, she released pressure via the steam release valve and watched until the steam stopped and pressed the stop button. She waited many minutes before attempting to open the lid.

Despite all outward appearances and the cooker’s supposed safety mechanisms, the cooker still retained a dangerous amount of pressure. The plaintiff was able to easily remove the lid, which caused the scalding hot contents in the pot to explode out, spraying her hand, wrist, and stomach. She suffered from first- and second-degree burns to all three areas.

She was taken to the hospital for treatment and endured a long period of pain and suffering. She still has scarring.

The other plaintiff purchased a Crock Pot pressure cooker but did not suffer injuries. The two sought to represent other consumers similarly situated who purchased a Crock-Pot pressure cooker without being aware of the dangers.

Judge Allows Case to Proceed 

Earlier in 2022, manufacturer Sunbeam and its parent company Newell Brands, Inc. filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ class-action case on two grounds: first, that plaintiffs who purchased the pressure cooker but were not injured by it could not pursue real damages, and that that the complaint failed to state claims for breach of implied or express warranties, negligence, and strict products liability.

U.S. District Judge Roy K. Altman granted the motion in part, dismissing some but not all of the plaintiff’s breach of warranties claims as well as the unjust enrichment claim and some of the claims for economic losses.

The judge allowed, however some of the breach of warranty claims, manufacturing design complaints, failure to warn claims, and consumer protection claims. This allows the case to proceed.

“The plaintiffs thought they were buying a safe pressure cooker,” the judge wrote. “Instead, they received a dangerous one—with the unexpected propensity for explosion.”

This case is one of many filed concerning the Crock-Pot Multicooker—which Sunbeam recalled in November 2020 due to known design defects.

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