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Understanding Product Liability Amidst Instant Pot Explosion Incidents

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Understanding Product Liability Amidst Instant Pot Explosion Incidents – Do you know using an Instant Pot could end you up with an explosion? The Instant Pot Programmable Smartcooker by Instant Brands Inc. has become a kitchen nightmare for many. Over 700 reports indicate that the device exploded, resulting in at least 80 burn injuries. This blog discusses the product liabilities surrounding these alarming incidents. 

Understanding the Instant Pot Incident

Ms. Lucy Perkins filed an initial lawsuit against Instant Brands Inc., which marked the beginning of numerous cases related to Instant Pot explosions. These cases primarily challenge the claimed safety, with particular emphasis on the lid-lock mechanism of popular Instant Pot pressure cookers. 

For context, an Instant Pot is a multifunctional kitchen appliance, quite popular due to its ease of use and versatility. This versatile appliance combines various cooking methods like slow cooking, pressure cooking, and steaming, simplifying meal preparation.

Severity of the Burning Cases

Victims involved in Instant Pot cooker explosion incidents have sustained a range of severe injuries. These include eye damage and extensive third-degree burns affecting areas such as hands, wrists, legs, face, and the chest area. Such injuries can be life-altering.

Notably, these accidents have not been limited to the individuals operating the pressure cookers. In some instances, other family members, including small children, have been injured simply by being in proximity to the appliance.

Considering the reports and lawsuits filed, it’s inferred that instances of such accidents with Instant Pots may be quite extensive. As per TorHoerman Law, an exact figure is not confirmed. However, the volume of cases and the severity of reported injuries suggest a widespread issue affecting numerous consumers.

What is the Product Liability in the Instant Pot Lawsuits?

Product liability is the manufacturer’s or seller’s legal obligation to ensure the safety of their products for customer use. In the case of Instant Pot, several key liabilities have come to light:

Defective Design

Plaintiffs have consistently claimed that the Instant Pot pressure cookers are flawed. The primary issue is with the lid’s locking mechanism, which is supposed to prevent it from opening while under pressure. However, numerous incidents indicate that the lid can be opened while cooking, leading to explosive outcomes and serious injuries.

Misrepresentation of Safety

Another recurring theme in the lawsuits is the claim that Instant Brands Inc. misrepresented the safety of its pressure cookers. Despite being marketed with multiple safety features, the reported incidents indicate a discrepancy between the product’s promised safety and performance. Plaintiffs argue that this misrepresentation endangers users physically and violates the consumer’s trust in the manufacturer.

Failure to Warn

One of the most important aspects of product liability is the duty to warn consumers about potential risks. The cases filed allege that Instant Brands Inc. failed to make consumers aware of the dangers of pressure cookers. This lack of communication left consumers unaware of the risks they faced while using the product.

Breach of Warranty

When consumers purchase a product, they enter into an implicit contract with the manufacturer that it will perform as advertised. The lawsuits against Instant Brands Inc. frequently mention a breach of warranty. 

The lawsuits aim to highlight Instant Pot’s reported flaws and merge customer claims for compensation. This includes reimbursement for expenses like replacing the defective pressure cookers. The claims suggest that consumer safety was compromised for profit, focusing on the inadequacy of the Instant Pot’s locks.

Gross Corporate Negligence

Aside from the physical product, some lawsuits address broader corporate responsibility. Allegations of negligence are leveled against Instant Brands Inc., implying that the company did not take adequate steps. They did not address known defects or prevent these hazardous incidents despite being aware of the risks.

Perkins vs. Instant Brands: The Case of Severe Burns

Ms. Perkins, a Utah resident, was involved in a horrific incident on April 25, 2019. Ms. Perkins suffered severe thermal burns as a result of the explosion.

The Perkins vs. Instant Brands lawsuit centers on the Instant Pot’s claimed safety mechanisms. It is marketed as having features that prevent the unit from accumulating pressure if the lid is not properly closed. The mechanism prevents the lid from being removed until all pressure has been released. 

However, the complaint alleges that the Instant Pot pressure cookers have design flaws. These claimed defects reportedly cause hot food contents to pour out, leading to user injuries. The legal action aims to challenge the purported safety flaws and misrepresentations. It also seeks compensation for the injuries and suffering Ms. Perkins endured due to the incident.

More Burning Cases: A Pattern of Concern

Let us look at some cases filed against Instant Brands regarding injuries caused by Instant Pot explosions. 

  • Deetra Marshall vs. Instant Brands Inc. (2021): Deetra Marshall sued Instant Brands after her Instant Pot exploded. The injured claimed that the company misrepresented the product’s safety, resulting in severe burns.
  • Class Action Lawsuit (2022): According to Michelle Havens and Elsie Wilkerson, Instant Brands knowingly sold defective Instant Pots. The lids of the device could open under pressure, endangering a large number of consumers. 
  • Suzette Wilder vs. Instant Brands (2023): Suzette Wilder’s legal claim, supported by a national law firm, claimed that the Instant Pot Smartcooker was inherently dangerous. Further, the lawsuit referenced issues with the Instant Pot Smart-60 pressure cooker models. It highlighted that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled over 1,000 Instant Pot Smart-60 models. The only reason was the risk of electric shock.  
  • Summers vs. Instant Brands (2023): This case involved the Instant Pot Duo Nova 80. The context highlighted the dangers of the cooker’s lid being opened while pressurized, resulting in burn injuries for the Indiana plaintiff.

There may be additional lawsuits that have not been publicly reported or are still pending.

The product liabilities in the Instant Pot cases demonstrate a complex link between consumer safety and legal accountability. As these cases move through the legal system, they highlight the importance of manufacturers rigorously ensuring their products‘ safety. Also, consumers need to be cautious about the devices they bring into their homes.

 

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