Pressure Cooker Explosion Lawsuit
Injured in a pressure cooker explosion? You are in the right place for information about your legal options.
Can I File a Lawsuit For a Pressure Cooker Explosion?
Injuries: If you suffered one of the following injuries after a pressure cooker explosion, you may have a claim for compensation:
- Burns on the face
- burns on arms
- burns on chest
“The lawyers that form this alliance truly work on these cases and often take leadership positions on the steering committees that litigate them.” – Laurence Banville
Pressure Cooker Lawsuit: Serious Injuries May Qualify For Settlements
Consumers have filed lawsuits against Tristar Products, a major player in the “As Seen On TV” market, for selling allegedly defective pressure cookers:
- Power Pressure Cooker XL
- 20+ pressure cooker lawsuits
- Multiple cases settled for undisclosed amount
In their lawsuits, home cooks say the Power Pressure Cooker XL can explode without warning, leading to severe burns. Were you or a loved one injured? Financial compensation may be available.
America’s most popular pressure cookers can explode at a moment’s notice, spewing hot foods and scalding liquids on unsuspecting users.
Exploding Pressure Cookers Raise Safety Concerns
Consumer reports have raised serious safety concerns about best-selling pressure cookers, including models manufactured by:
- Tristar Products – Power Pressure Cooker XL
- Fagor America
- Tabletops Unlimited
- Maxi-Matic – Bistro Elite
- Wolfgang Puck Worldwide
Pressure Cooker Lawsuit: Do You Qualify For Burn Injury Compensation?
In more than 60 reports submitted to SaferProducts.gov, home cooks have described troubling – and often devastating incidents – in which the safety mechanisms built into pressure cookers appear to fail, leading to serious injuries. Many consumers have sustained severe burn injuries, requiring hospitalization, costly medical treatment and lost time at work. Attorneys say that hundreds of other people injured by exploding pressure cookers may also be entitled to pursue justice.
Injured consumers are now filing product liability lawsuits, claiming that some pressure cooker companies are peddling unsafe products to unsuspecting home cooks. More than 20 lawsuits have already been filed against Tristar Products, the company behind the Power Pressure Cooker XL, America’s most popular pressure cooker. A number of these consumers are being represented by our national alliance of experienced lawyers.
Pressure Cooker Accidents: Are Pressure Cookers Safe?
According to their manufacturers, pressure cookers can “prepare slow-cooked meals in a fraction of the time.” More crucially, many companies explicitly advertise their pressure cookers as, in the words of a commercial made by Power Pressure Cooker XL manufacturer Tristar Products, “always safe to use.” But as dozens of consumers have learned, pressure cookers can also explode, leading to severe burn injuries and hurried visits to the emergency room.
Pressure cookers feature a sealed pot that, when heated, turns liquid into steam. As this steam pressure rises, water’s boiling point increases as well, allowing foods to cook more quickly than usual. Elevated pressure also forces moisture inside food, lowering cook times further and tenderizing tough foods efficiently. But in a series of recent lawsuits, home cooks claim that some of the most popular pressure cookers may be harboring devastating product defects.
Power Pressure Cooker XL Lawsuits – Tristar Products
Tristar Products, Inc., the manufacturer of the “As Seen On TV” Power Pressure Cooker XL, has seen the most legal trouble. Today, multiple injured consumers have filed personal injury lawsuits against Tristar Products, saying the Power Pressure Cooker XL can explode due to an alleged design defect.
At least 20 pressure cooker lawsuits have been filed against the company across the country. In court documents, consumers say the Power Pressure Cooker XL’s safety features can “fail” during normal operation, leading to terrifying explosions and second or third-degree burns. Our own product liability attorneys are representing over a dozen of these injured cooks.
Consumers Take Tristar To Court
On September 19, 2017, our lawyers filed a multi-plaintiff case against Tristar Products on behalf of six consumers who suffered severe injuries when a Power Pressure Cooker XL blew up. Filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, the lawsuit has been registered as case number 170902183.
The attorneys at The Product Lawyers filed another multi-plaintiff lawsuit on November 7, 2017. Like the first, our lawyers are representing six consumers who claim to have been using the Power Pressure Cooker XL as directed in the product’s user manual, when the machine suddenly exploded. The plaintiffs say the device’s lid came open, even though the pressure cooker’s pot was still under significant pressure. The case is logged as number 171100491 in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
Texas Couple Sues Tristar Over Pressure Cooker Burns
This isn’t the first time Tristar has come under fire over alleged defects in the Power Pressure Cooker XL. In fact, the company settled several of the earliest cases, paying injured home cooks undisclosed sums of financial compensation.
The first major pressure cooker lawsuit was filed on June 12, 2015, by a couple from Texas. In their federal complaint, Ninfa and Jose Vasquez say that, like many other consumers, they purchased Tristar’s pressure cooker after seeing the device in a TV commercial. After receiving the pressure cooker, Ninfa set out to prepare some pinto beans in her new machine. She could not have expected what happened next.
“Approximately two hours after unplugging the cooker,” the couple writes, “suddenly and without warning, the lid blew off of the cooker, and the pinto beans burst out of the cooker and onto Mrs. Vasquez, resulting in extensive and severe burns to her body.” The couple rushed to the hospital, according to court documents, where Ninfa spent 20 days being treated for her burns. She continues “to endure severe pain,” and will likely be scarred for life, the lawsuit continues.
The Vasquez’s lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Brownsville Division. It was logged as case number 1:15-cv-00108 and, while early court records suggest that Tristar was less than forthcoming with information, the company ultimately settled the case for an undisclosed amount.
Florida Couple Says Pressure Cooker Caused Severe Burns
In a second lawsuit, filed on June 24, 2015, a couple from Sunny Isles Beach, Florida claims their Power Pressure Cooker XL unexpectedly exploded, causing severe burn injuries. In an interview with CBS Local Miami, Lili Bekteva described the accident in detail, saying her husband Serg suffered second-degree burns to his arms, fingers, and leg after the pressure cooker blew up as he opened the machine’s lid.
Along with Tristar Products, the couple has named Bed, Bath & Beyond as a Defendant, accusing the home goods chain of selling a defective product without adequate warnings. In their lawsuit, the Florida couple writes that the Power Pressure Cooker system is defective and “unreasonably dangerous because there were a lack of adequate warnings, notices and/or instructions that the product could explode despite being unplugged, properly vented, and opened without force.”
This second pressure cooker lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The couple’s complaint (PDF) was has been registered as case number 1:15-cv-22364-UU.
While few details on this alleged defect have become public, records from the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida indicate that Tristar Products, along with Bed, Bath & Beyond, settled the Florida couple’s claim for an undisclosed amount.
Severe Second-Degree Burns
Their case received media coverage from Miami’s CBS affiliate. In their story, Tchernyck and Bekteva described the severe injuries inflicted on Serg when their Power Pressure Cooker XL suddenly exploded: “He started to open it, and it blew out everything,” Bekteva told reporters. “[Serg] burned his arms completely, and when he removed clothes, shorts, his leg was also burned.” Serg suffered second-degree burns, extending from his elbow to his fingertips, while Lili sustained minor burns to her hands.
Reporters from CBS note that, while pressure cookers have been known to explode in the past, Tristar’s Power Pressure Cooker XL is a relatively new entry to the US market. Tristar only applied for a trademark in 2014, but “already,” reporter Gary Nelson writes, “complaints ranging from minor to scary have appeared on the web.” Tristar, however, appears unwilling to comment on the recent pressure cooker explosions. When pressed for a response, the company failed to answer the CBS affiliate’s messages.
Pressure Cooker Explosion Lawyer: What’s Wrong With The Power Pressure Cooker XL?
Tristar says the Power Pressure Cooker XL is the best pressure cooker available on the market, boasting numerous safety features, including:
- pressure monitor that prevents intolerable steam build-up
- temperature controls to ensure an even heat
- safety pressure release valve and back-up release valve
- features to prevent clogging
- cutoff mechanisms to prevent incredibly high temperatures
Despite these “extensive” safety features, consumers say the Power Pressure Cooker XL can explode – during or after food preparation. In fact, many customers who have reported explosions are certain that a safety feature failed on their own device, leading to personal injury.
Some home cooks, like Lili Bektava, have suffered severe burns after beginning to remove the pressure cooker’s lid. In marketing materials, Tristar claims that the pressure cooker is outfitted with a specific safety mechanism that should make this impossible. The Power Pressure Cooker XL is equipped with a safety check, according to Tristar, which should prevent consumers from opening the lid until the cooker’s pressure has been properly vented. Some observers have linked devastating explosions like these to an allegedly faulty valve, which can clog and lead to unacceptable pressure build-up.
Other reported explosions, which appear to be completely inexplicable, may provide support for this theory. On June 11, 2016, for example, a home cook reported walking into her kitchen, where a pea soup was being prepared in the Power Pressure Cooker XL. No sooner had she entered the room, than the pressure cooker’s lid “exploded,” shooting hot pea soup onto the woman’s body.
Amid Pressure Cooker Recalls, No Word From Tristar
Pressure cookers have been known to explode in the past.
In December of 2015, Breville recalled more than 35,000 of its Fast Slow Cookers, after consumers reported that a defective sealing gasket could allow the machine’s built-up pressure to release unexpectedly. Five owners reported sustaining severe second-degree burns to the hands, arms, and stomach, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Earlier that year, manufacturer Double Insight released a similar recall, asking consumers to stop using the company’s Instant Pot Pressure Cooker immediately because the product’s thermometer probe could cause electric shocks.
But Tristar has yet to make a public comment on the pending pressure cooker lawsuits – let alone issue a recall for its Power Pressure Cooker XL.
Injuries Linked To Pressure Cookers
Our experienced product liability attorneys have been monitoring the consumer-reported pressure cooker injuries closely. Between 2011 and today, 35 home cooks have submitted reports of exploding pressure cookers to the government. Recent reports are dominated by references to Tristar’s Power Pressure Cooker XL. In 12 consumer reports, users describe apparently faulty steam release valves, mechanisms that can allow dangerous levels of pressure to remain inside the cooker without warning.
In an August 9, 2016 report, a 56-year-old woman says that her Power Pressure Cooker XL exploded without warning – after she unsuccessfully attempted to release the cooker’s pressure twice. With the valve unresponsive, she went to open the pressure cooker’s lid, only to have the device suddenly spew hot food all over her body. The consumer reports that she suffered burns and was hospitalized for her injuries. She intends to file a product liability lawsuit against Tristar Products.
In several reports, the pressure cooker’s lid flew off completely during the cooking process, spewing scalding hot liquids directly on consumers. Of these 12 Power Pressure Cooker XL explosions, only one consumer says they were not injured. The vast majority were left with first- and second-degree burns that required emergency medical attention.
Fagor Pressure Cookers “Defective,” Owners Say
While Fagor manufactures everything from dishwashers to wine coolers, the company’s focus remains on pressure cookers. Claiming prominence as “the most well-known pressure cooker brand on the market,” Fagor America manufactures pressure cookers under six different brand names:
- Rapid Express
Pressure cookers branded as “Cayenne” and “Futuro” are listed as discontinued on Fagor America’s website. A pressure cooker sold under the brand name “Nutrimaster,” which is marketed in the US by Farberware, also appears to be manufactured by Fagor. In one incident report, a home cook describes being told to contact Fagor after the pressure indicator of his Nutrimaster pressure cooker “blew out of the pressure cooker lid.”
Consumers have reported explosions with nearly every pressure cooker manufactured by Fagor, but the company’s Casa Essentials pressure cookers appear to be implicated in the vast majority of incidents.
Walmart lists the Casa Essentials pressure cooker as “no longer available,” as does Macy’s. On Amazon, the company’s 5-quart Casa Essentials Aluminum Pressure Cooker is only available through third-party sellers. In short, Fagor’s Casa Essentials pressure cookers appear to have been taken off the market, although there has been no company announcement to this effect.
Home Cooks Describe “Gasket Failures,” Failures
Customer reviews posted to Amazon.com, however, are illuminating:
- On May 2, 2016, in a review titled “Don’t Buy,” user Loyd S Johnson writes simply: “This pressure cooker is a bomb.”
- Sonia Lyn, writing on August 2, 2014, calls the Casa Essentials pressure cooker a “dangerous product.” Lyn then explains why: “Mine blew up. Burn[ed] me on my side. My niece had one too. Her’s blew up too.”
- On May 9, 2014, user AnnieWP wrote: “this pressure cooker nearly blew up in our kitchen. I returned it and think you should, too, for safety reasons […] they should recall this pressure cooker.”
- September 22, 2015 saw another disappointed customer, Mina Choksi, write: “ours locked up and we could not open. We had to break it open with [a] hammer. Called company 10 times, left messages. Nobody called back.”
- On January 1, 2014, user RB Elmore posted: “the seal failed one day and it was pretty spectacular.” Elmore continues: “the silicone seal failed after about a dozen uses […] the [pressure cooker] took off across our kitchen like a steam powered rocket.”
- Writing on April 6, 2012, user Clairmonte calls the Casa Essentials pressure cooker “not safe to own.” “On the first use, this cooker worked well. There after, it blows the silicone gasket whenever pressure builds up. I tried it several time[s] with the same results. […] The company […] sent me a new gasket, and I tried it – with the same results, this time with a lot of damages to the kitchen and stove.”
The Casa Essentials pressure cooker comes equipped with an “auto-locking mechanism,” so consumers shouldn’t be able to open the cooker’s lid until all of the pressure has been released. Many home cooks, however, report that the pressure cooker’s lid sealing mechanisms appear to be defective – either making removal of the lid entirely impossible or blowing off at a moment’s notice.
The pressure cooker’s gasket has also been labeled “faulty.” Intended to secure an air-tight seal between the cooker’s pot and lid, Fagor’s gasket seems completely ineffective. As Yangyi Chen wrote on December 28, 2011, “it releases all the steam at once before the valve starts releasing extra pressure. Luckily when this first happened, we weren’t right next to the cooker or the steam could’ve burned us.” In other cases, the pressure cooker’s silicone gasket has broken within months of purchase.
Fagor Pressure Cooker Complaints
The government consumer safety watchdog SaferProducts.gov has received multiple reports of explosions occurring with Fagor-made pressure cookers.
“As I Opened The Pressure Cooker, It Exploded”
In a report dated July 21, 2015, a 55-year-old man blames an apparent failure of his Casa Essentials pressure cooker for causing first- and second-degree burns. In an event that he says led to emergency room treatment, the man says:
“After cooking[,] I waited for about 20 – 30 minutes and pulled off the regulator to check for any residual pressure. There was no steam released and no sound of steam. I then opened the pressure cooker and[,] as I did so, it exploded, and the stew contents hit my chest, neck and face which left me with first and second degree burns. I sought medical attention immediately.”
The reporter continues, attempting to explain the accident’s cause: “apparently the locking mechanism which should have prevented me from opening the cooker while under pressure did not function. I did not have to use force to open the cooker. It opened easily.”
“My Wife […] Suffered Second Degree Burns”
In a 2013 report, a man describes the severe injuries inflicted on his wife after one of Fagor’s Elite brand pressure cookers unexpectedly exploded off the stove:
“She was using the pressure cooker to cook lentils. The pressure cooker was on the stove building pressure for 7 minutes and it flew off the stove and emptied its contents via the vent valve. The pressure cooker was half full when she started the cooking process[.] When I opened it, the cooker was empty.”
After administering first-aid to his wife, the reporter says he contacted Fagor America “to see if they can explain how this happened.”
“Hot Water Splashed All Over Face, Arms & Shoulders”
On March 6, 2013, a 51-year-old woman reports being severely burned when a Casa Essentials pressure cooker blew up during use:
“A Casa Essentials pressure cooker exploded. Steam and hot water splashed all over face, arms and shoulders, resulting in 2nd and 3rd degree burns.”
After receiving emergency medical treatment, the woman attempted to contact Fagor – “but got no response.”
“Steam & Water Exploded Out Of The Cooker”
In a report submitted on April 5, 2012, a 30-year-old man recounts the explosion of a Fagor pressure cooker that left him burned:
“I bought a Casa Essentials pressure cooker. I cooked on it a couple of times and it was okay. The third time, the steam and water exploded out of the cooker and I burned myself with the hot water gushing out of the pressure cooker. Thankfully it did not get in my eyes [-] otherwise, I could have been blinded.”
The man says he received first aid for his injuries.
“I Believe That The Cooker Wasn’t Designed Properly”
In a February 4, 2013 report, Fagor America’s Rapida pressure cooker makes an appearance. In his report, a 49-year-old man writes:
“My two-year-old Rapida pressure cooker exploded (seal broken).
There are two reasons why I want to report this incident. First, I believe that the cooker wasn’t designed properly. Its safety valve should have prevented the incident […] by releasing the steam pressure, or a stronger seal needs to be used.
Second, I believe there is a design flaw in the location of the safety valve which is bundled together with the normal steam outlet. This design can prevent people from telling if the steam is [coming] from the normal outlet or the safety release valve. Because of the design flaw, it’s very hard for most users to tell the difference between steams released from the safety valve and from the normal valve. As a result, it’s impossible for most users to tell when the safety valve is open and when to remove the heat from the cooker. If the steam is [coming] out [of] the safety valve, users would be able to identify the problem in time and remove the heat to avoid [an] explosion.”
The man says he reported the incident to the manufacturer. While the company requested more information, the reporter says he “never heard from them again” after submitted the requested details.
On the company’s website, Fagor boasts of the Rapida pressure cooker’s “triple safety features,” including a dual pressure control valve and two independent over-pressure release valves. According to the manufacturer, a “safety locking handle prevents accidental opening under pressure.”
“We Would Have Been Scalded”
In another report, filed on December 12, 2014, a 54-year-old woman describes a near-miss incident that could have resulted in severe burns:
“About 30 minutes ago, I was making some turkey stock. My stock had been under pressure for about 40 minutes when I heard an awful shrieking sound and ran downstairs to find stock all over the kitchen and a missing pressure indicator mechanism. Looks like it literally blew up. Had any of us been in the kitchen, we would have been scalded.” [Emphasis added].
The woman also notes that, under specific circumstances, the pressure cooker’s malfunction could have started a serious fire.
“The Pressure Cooker Exploded On The Stove”
In a September 2, 2014 report, a 53-year-old man describes an explosion involving Fagor America’s Rapid Express brand pressure cooker:
“the pressure cooker exploded on the stove while I was cooking bean soup; spewing hot bean soup in a 4 ft radius around the pressure cooker.”
Thankfully, no injuries were sustained in the accident.
“We Were Lucky”
In a report filed on May 8, 2012, a 49-year-old man describes two close-calls involving a Casa Essentials pressure cooker:
“Last Saturday, […] my wife was cooking some bean soup and we were [a] few feet away from the stove and pressure cooker. After like 10 minutes[,] suddenly steam [sprayed] with high velocity and touched my hand[,] as well as my wife’s feet. We were lucky that we were [a] few feet away and the steam became cool and we could [save] oursel[ves] from being burned. It could also cause fire [on] the stove and fire could spread all over. [The] same event occurred [two days later], when my wife was cooking some chicken soup.”
After denouncing the pressure cooker as “not at all safe for consumer use,” the husband requests “a thorough investigation” of the product.
Defective Products from Tabletops Unlimited
Tabletops Unlimited (or TTU) is a “leading housewares manufacturer” based in California. The company is responsible for a number of popular pressure cookers, including models marketed under the brands Bella, Basic Essentials and Casa Maria. The majority of reported explosions, however, concern pressure cookers sold under names like:
- Philippe Richard
- Denmark Tools for Cooks
These are brands manufactured and marketed by Tabletops Unlimited. Philippe Richard pressure cookers, along with pressure cookers sold under the simplified Denmark brand, are still readily available at major retailers like Walmart. Tabletops Unlimited, however, lists no pressure cookers under either Philippe Richard or Denmark on its own website.
Reported Pressure Cooker Accidents
Despite multiple safety features, including an auto-lock system intended to keep pressure where it belongs, multiple home cooks have reported serious explosions involving pressure cookers manufactured by Tabletops Unlimited.
The majority of reported explosions seem to involve the pressure cooker’s gasket, a ring of plastic meant to seal the meeting point between the machine’s lid and pot. As consumers write, even under normal operating conditions, the gasket appears to fail completely, shooting scalding steam and boiling liquids directly at unsuspecting home cooks.
In their reports, submitted to SaferProducts.gov, consumers say that some pressure cookers made by Tabletops Unlimited may be dangerously defective.
January 23, 2016
On January 23, 2016, a man from Florida described what appears to be a product failure involving a pressure cooker marketed under Tabletops Unlimited’s Denmark Tools for Cooks brand line:
“Tonight, my wife was cooking chicken in this pressure cooker. She had stepped away from the kitchen for a few minutes only to come back to find fluid rushing out from the joint of the pot to the lid, shooting downward along [the] side of the pot and fueling a developing fire on the range burner. I immediately cut power to the range via [the] garage circuit breaker and sprayed water from the kitchen sink hose onto the flames to put it out. The house was filled with smoke. Presumably, it was grease from the chicken that was fueling the fire.
This is not the first time that this pressure cooker has acted strangely, but it is the most concerning. […] There is a definite design problem with this pressure cooker. It is very dangerous. Tonight’s incident could have easily caused our house to burn if not caught when it was. A recall needs to be placed on this product immediately to save others from potential property damage and personal injury.”
As we’ve seen, this man attributes the incident to a potentially-defective seal between the pressure cooker’s lid and pot.
September 31, 2015
In a report filed on September 31, 2015, a 49-year-old woman says her Philippe Richard 8-Quart Pressure Cooker, another model manufactured by Tabletops Unlimited, suddenly blew up, causing severe burns:
“After only a few uses, it exploded, gasket failed. I was burned on my abdomen, going to the doctor in the morning. This product has a lot of complaints on several websites.”
Again, the problem appears to lie in the pressure cooker’s gasket. If the reporter’s statements are to be believed, the gasket on her Philippe Richard pressure cooker completely failed.
September 8, 2014
In Louisiana, a 50-year-old woman describes an apparent gasket failure, which led to steam burns and blunt-force trauma, in the Philippe Richard 6-Quart Pressure Cooker:
“consumer stated that she used the cooker three times successfully, following the instruction[s]. The fourth time she went to use it, the cooker seal failed.
The consumer was reaching up to the left [of] the range. The cooker was on the right back burner. The consumer stated that the steam was coming out from the failed seal. The consumer felt the cooker explode.
The consumer was injured from the steam[,] burned under the right breast (first and second-degree burns). The consumer has two marks on her breast from something hitting her. The consumer also received [a] steam burn on her face. [She] was wearing eyeglasses and they were severely damaged. The consumer believes that if she wasn’t wearing glasses, she could have lost her eyes. The consumer’s brother took the consumer to the bathroom and put cold water on her. The consumer was treated by [a] family [member], who is a CNA. The consumer called her doctor and spoke over the phone. The consumer was provided prescription medications for her burns.”
After sustaining the injury, the consumer quickly contacted the pressure cooker’s manufacturer, but was told that she “might not have used the cooker properly.” The company asked for the pressure cooker to be returned, but the consumer, who hopes to have the cooker “tested for product safety,” declined. Even more surprising is what the woman heard next. The product’s manufacturer reportedly told her “that there have been no complaints on” her pressure cooker.
September 22, 2014
In another report involving the Philippe Richard 8-Quart Pressure Cooker, a 47-year-old man from Washington State writes:
“I was using a Philippe Richard 8 Quart Pressure Cooker that depressurized while in use. I believe the lid warped under pressure. A second guess is that there was a seal failure. This caused the hot water to instantly boil and spray to the side. This would have resulted [in] serious injury had I not moved quickly.”
The consumer says he contacted the manufacturer, but there are no further details.
Elite Bistro Pressure Cooker Risks
Maxi-Matic is a small appliance manufacturer based in City of Industry, California. The company’s Elite Platinum and Bistro Pressure Cookers are available through the Home Shopping Network (HSN), as well as major retailers like Amazon and Wayfair.
Despite their popularity, pressure cookers in the Elite product line have been linked to a number of serious incidents, including outright explosions and injuries. In fact, a couple from California filed a financial claim against Maxi-Matic in 2015, accusing the company of concealing a product defect from the public.
Maxi-Matic is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), a non-profit that ranks businesses from A to F based on their ethical behavior. And while Maxi-Matic’s rating was recently (and inexplicably) changed to an A, the company had an F rating as of September 12, 2016:
Out of 26 consumer complaints recently featured in the BBB database, only 2 had ended in a satisfactory conclusion. In their complaints, consumers describe a variety of apparently defective products sold by Maxi-Matic – with the company’s pressure cookers as a dominant source of frustration. Here are just a few of the comments submitted to the Better Business Bureau:
- ELITE Platinum 8-Quart Electric Pressure Cooker – “After three and a half uses, the product ceased working.”
- “Pressure cooker stopped heating after about 6 weeks.”
- “Bought Elite Bistro at HSN. Used 3 times and will not power on.”
- “My pressure cooker is less than 2 months old and has been repaired once and now broke again.”
Beyond suspectedly faulty home goods and unusable appliances, most consumers complain of poor communication. In many cases, Maxi-Matic has failed to reply to consumer complaints entirely.
Reported Maxi-Matic Pressure Cooker Incidents
More troubling reports have been submitted to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an agency of the federal government.
“My House Was Full Of Black Smoke”
In one report, a 49-year-old woman describes the day her newly-purchased Maxi-Matic ELITE pressure cooker caught on fire:
“I turned on my ELITE Platinum Pressure Cooker and 5 minutes later it caught on fire[,] burning it and my stove that it was sitting on. The fire department responded. My house was full of black smoke from the melting plastic. After it was put out[,] we determined that the thermostat inside the bottom of the unit shorted out and caught fire. We’ve made numerous attempts to contact the manufacturer (Maxi-Matic) located in California. We’ve sent pictures of their faulty unit, my burned stove, and all the black smoke damage. This was the 4th time I had used this unit. It was purchased in December 2015.”
Thankfully, the woman says that no members of her household sustained injury in the fire. Significant property damage, however, is described. According to the complaint, Maxi-Matic has not responded to the consumer.
“I Leaned Over The Cooker […] And It Exploded In My Face”
In a second report, a 61-year-old woman says that she was severely burned after a Maxi-Matic pressure cooker blew up in her face:
“I purchased an Elite 8 Quart Pressure Cooker in May 2014. On June 12, 2014, I was cooking white chili in my pressure cooker. I had cooked the chicken and onions until tender. I expelled the pressure in the cooker. After it was safe to open the cooker, I added a few additional ingredients which didn’t take as much time to cook as the chicken. I replaced the lid on the cooker and started the pressure cooker again. It began to increase in pressure but didn’t exactly as it had before. It was not [supposed to build pressure] if everything was not operating correctly. I leaned over the cooker to see if there was a problem and it exploded in my face. I had to go to the emergency room with 2nd degree burns on my scalp, face, shoulder and back.
The woman says that she was hospitalized for her injuries, and is “still in the process of healing.”
“Ten Minutes Later, The Cooker Exploded”
A third report, filed in October 2013, describes similar circumstances:
“[The consumer] noticed steam leaking so he closed the lid. It immediately stopped leaking. Ten minutes later, the cooker exploded. The food contents splattered all over the garage where he was cooking. The lid had [fallen] ten feet away. The consumer says he feels lucky to not have been around at the time of the explosion.”
In a follow-up note, a government employee writes: “the consumer contacted the manufacturer who did not show an interest into looking into this matter.”
Consumers Take Legal Action Against Maxi-Matic
At least one product liability claim has been filed against Maxi-Matic over an exploding pressure cooker.
In September 2015, a couple from California sued Maxi-Matic for injuries allegedly caused by a defective pressure cooker. Gene and Bridget Iovino claim that their Maxi-Matic pressure cooker exploded without warning one March day as Bridget was preparing chicken broth.
Maxi-Matic Pressure Cooker Blew Up, California Couple Says
Iovino had already used the pressure cooker to make chicken broth four times, without incident. But on March 6, 2015, an apparent product failure would leave her with severe second- and third-degree burns, according to court documents.
After adding the ingredients, along with 10 cups of water, Iovino set the timer for an hour. After an hour, the pressure cooker shut off automatically and the woman, tending to other matters, let it sit for another 45 minutes. She then “depressurized the cooker,” the Los Angeles Daily News reports, and added more seasonings to the broth. Once the pressure cooker’s lid had been reattached, Iovino set it for another 25 minutes. Although she “saw more steam than was normal coming from the exhaust valve,” everything appeared to be working – until Iovino took two steps away from the cooker and it suddenly exploded. The woman was covered with hot water and steam, according to court documents, suffering second- and third-degree burns.
The Iovino family filed suit against Max-Matic, along with chain retailer Kohl’s, seeking unspecified damages. Their complaint was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on September 30, 2015.
Instant Pot Safety Risks
Currently, our attorneys believe that the Instant Pot is likely one of the safest pressure cookers on the market. At the time of this writing, no consumers have reported malfunctions or explosions to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, an arm of the federal government tasked with monitoring safety issues in consumer products.
The Instant Pot appears to feature some of the most advanced safety features ever implemented in a pressure cooker, but as in any area of life, accidents can happen. Despite the Instant Pot’s safety features, at least one explosion has been reported in the popular media. On March 9, 2018, a story for ABC News described the experience of one Katy, Texas mother who says her Instant Pot blew up during operation, covering her with scalding hot soup.
Pressure cookers are designed to reach higher temperatures than are possible using other methods. The Instant Pot can go up to around 250°F, far higher than the normal boiling point of water. That’s why the Instant Pot prepares food faster than traditional cooking techniques, but it also creates a risk for horrific personal injuries. Cooking with extreme pressures and heat is an inherently dangerous proposition. If the cooker’s vent becomes blocked, or one of its safety features fail, the machine can blow up, scalding users with burning hot steam, liquid, and food.
As we’ve seen, at least one Instant Pot model has already been recalled due to an apparent product defect, one that significantly increased the risk of injury. While no subsequent problems have yet been reported, it’s crucial to use the product only as intended and check for recall information routinely in the future.
Is There A Pressure Cooker Class Action?
We’ve seen many reports of a pressure cooker class action. You might have seen the same articles, describing a class action involving the Power Pressure Cooker XL or Maxi-Matic’s Elite cookers. At this time, our experienced attorneys do not believe any pressure cooker class actions have been filed. A class action was filed against Tristar Products, but it ended in July 2017, when Tristar entered an undisclosed settlement agreement with the plaintiffs.
Perhaps more importantly, our attorneys believe that injured consumers are better served by filing individual personal injury claims. That’s especially true when severe injuries have been sustained. Filing your own lawsuit allows you to retain complete control over the case. Joining a class action, on the other hand, forces injured consumers to turn important decisions over to someone else. The Product Lawyers intend to pursue only individual personal injury lawsuits on behalf of consumers injured by defective pressure cookers.
Can I File A Pressure Cooker Lawsuit?
In America, companies that manufacture consumer products have a legal duty to provide us with safe, defect-free products. And when a product carries a reasonable risk of harm, the manufacturer must warn purchasers of that potential danger clearly. But when these responsibilities aren’t upheld, and people get hurt, consumers have every right to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer.
If you or a loved one were injured by a defective pressure cooker, our experienced personal injury lawyers want to know about it. You may be entitled to significant financial compensation, money to cover your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Expert Research Cited In This Article
- US Consumer Product Safety Commission: Electronic Pressure Cookers Sold by QVC Recalled Due to Burn Hazard
- US District Court Southern District of Texas: Vasquez v. Tristar Products
- National Law Review: Pressure Cooker Burn Injury Lawsuits