A Connecticut woman has filed a new pressure cooker lawsuit against Tristar Products and Wal-Mart.
By Laurence Banville
A woman from Connecticut has filed a lawsuit against Tristar Products, manufacturer of the Power Pressure Cooker XL, and Wal-Mart, arguing that both companies should be held liable for the severe burn injuries and shock that she sustained when her pressure cooker "exploded [...] without warning" on the night of April 9, 2015.
Plaintiff: Power Pressure Cooker XL "Exploded"In her complaint, the woman accuses Tristar of designing, manufacturing and marketing a dangerously defective product. As she explains, her own 6-Quart Power Pressure Cooker XL blew up unexpectedly when she was trying to cook vegetables. The device had not been modified, she says. Nor was it being used for an unintended purpose.
Tristar's Safety Claims Are False, Plaintiff SaysIn fact, the woman had every reason to believe that her pressure cooker was safe to use, especially in preparing vegetables. As Tristar's own advertisements state, the Power Pressure Cooker XL is "safe to use." But the company's promises of safety are even stronger than that.
Eric Theiss, a "culinary expert" who serves as Tristar's lead spokesperson, calls the Power Pressure Cooker XL "one of the safest" pressure cookers on the market, noting no fewer than six "Built-In Safety Features," including a lid locking mechanism designed to prevent the lid from being opened when the cooker is still under pressure.
Severe Burns & Emotional TraumaThose statements, the woman claims, are factually inaccurate. The Power Pressure Cooker XL is not safe to use, the lawsuit says, as its plaintiff learned all too well in April of 2015. Her pressure cooker blew up, "spraying [her] with steam, hot liquid and[...] cooking debris." Instantly, her body was covered in scalding liquids, causing severe burns to her face, neck, chest and arms. The plaintiff will be forever scarred, she writes.
She also suffered what the complaint calls a "general shock to her nervous system." The terror of the explosion, she writes, has left emotional scars from which she may never recover. Beyond these forms of harm, the woman says she has incurred considerable medical expenses, since she required significant care for her injuries, along with lost wages because she has been unable to work.
Complaints submitted to the Consumer Product Safety Commission prove that this is not an isolated incident. In at least twelve reports, home cooks from across the country describe extremely similar explosions, along with severe injuries and urgent trips to the emergency room. A growing number of product liability lawsuits also seem to support the troubling allegations made by the woman from Connecticut.
Wal-Mart, Tristar Deny AllegationsThe woman initiated her lawsuit on April 6, 2017, filing the claim initially in the Fairfield Judicial District Superior Court, a Connecticut state court. It was subsequently moved, on the request of Tristar, to the federal US District Court of Connecticut. It is now logged as case number 3:17-cv-00763-MPS.
As of this writing, both Wal-Mart and Tristar Products have submitted answers to the woman's initial complaint. Both companies accuse the plaintiff of using the pressure cooker in "an unreasonable manner." Neither defendant explains how the woman's use of the pressure cooker was "unreasonable."
Meanwhile, Tristar denies having designed or manufactured the Power Pressure Cooker XL, admitting only that it "distributed" the product. The company has taken a similar line in previous pressure cooker lawsuits, attempting to shift liability onto a number of Chinese companies who manufacture pressure cookers under contract with Tristar.