Tristar Products has been hit with another Power Pressure Cooker XL lawsuit, filed by a Seattle woman who says she sustained severe second-degree burns.

Steaming Pot On Stove

A woman from Seattle has filed a new Power Pressure Cooker XL lawsuit, writing in her complaint that a pressure cooker sold by Tristar Products exploded on her countertop after she tried to make beef stew for her family. Her claim, now pending in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington, was filed on May 30, 2017. It has been registered as case number 2:17-cv-00981-JCC.

Pressure Cooker Advertised As "Easy & Safe To Use"

Today, the Power Pressure Cooker XL is one of America's most popular kitchen appliances. Marketed by Tristar Products, the pressure cooker is "aggressively advertised," lawsuits say, as an easy and (perhaps more importantly) safe product designed to prepare flavorful food in a fraction of the time.

Like all pressure cookers, the Power Pressure Cooker XL traps heat and pressure inside a sealed pot, driving cooking temperatures up while lowering actual cook times. With such a design, safety is obviously key and, true to form, Tristar markets the Power Pressure Cooker XL on the basis of multiple "Built-In Safety Features."

One of these safety features in particular has been highlighted prominently in this and past pressure cooker lawsuits: the products "Safe Lock Lid." In product advertisements, Tristar explicitly says that the cooker's lid is designed to prevent opening until all of the pressure has been released.

Lid Locking Mechanism "Failed," Plaintiff Says

In her lawsuit, the Seattle woman says she read the pressure cooker's manual before attempting to use it. In fact, she used the pressure cooker for about two years without any incident. On February 12, 2017, she set about preparing a beef stew for her family's dinner.

She set the cooker for forty minutes and waited, court documents relate, but several minutes into the device's cooking cycle, she began to hear "a strange steaming noise[,] which she had never heard before." After approaching the machine, she "noticed steam being released from an odd place." In light of these events, the plaintiff quickly unplugged the machine and let it sit. Before attempting to open the pressure cooker, she "tapped the lid's handle" and found that it was no longer "locked into the secure position," the lawsuit says.

Lawsuit: Cooker Blew Up, Shooting Scalding Liquid

Then she remembered what she had read in the product's user manual, which clearly states that the lid will "only come off if there is no pressure inside." The plaintiff, however, did not try to open the pressure cooker, although she would have been justified in doing so, seeing as the lid was no longer secure. Instead, she simply moved the lid's handle back to its locked position, court records show. That's when, "suddenly and without warning," the Power Pressure Cooker XL exploded, sending the product's lid flying. "Scalding hot beef, water, and steam" flew out of the pressure cooker and covered the plaintiff's body, she claims.

Excruciating Pain, Second-Degree Burns

The plaintiff says that she instantly suffered excruciating pain, a result of the severe second-degree burns she sustained on her left shoulder, breasts, stomach and thighs. The pain continued, her lawsuit claims, until she was given pain relievers at a local emergency room.

At the hospital, she was diagnosed with "second degree burns to her chest wall, abdominal wall, left thigh, left breast and right breast," along with "partial thickness burn to the left flank." Doctors at the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle estimated that 9% of the plaintiff's body surface was "covered in burns," court documents report. Her wounds were washed and then "debrided" - dying tissue was cut away from her body. She was admitted to the hospital for monitoring and released the following day.

Explosion Caused Depression, Anxiety, Woman Claims

At home, the plaintiff says, she avoided cooking, while experienced severe pain, anxiety and fear over the possibility of permanent scarring. During subsequent follow-up appointments, she was referred to a rehab psychology team for help in controlling the symptoms of depression and anxiety that had surfaced after the alleged pressure cooker explosion, court documents report.

Today, the plaintiff continues to suffer pain. She "is physically disfigured and emotionally scarred," the lawsuit says, and will require more medical treatments in the future.

The Legal Herald

About Laurence Banville

Attorney Contributor:

Laurence P. Banville, Esq. is the managing partner of Banville Law. He is a regular contributor on several topics including negligent security cases, child sexual abuse and Dram Shop and liquor liability cases.

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