A new pressure cooker lawsuit, filed in New Jersey on September 26, has been referred to arbitration by a federal judge.
By Laurence Banville
A woman from Texas has filed a new pressure cooker explosion lawsuit against Tristar Products, accusing the major "As Seen On TV" retailer of selling an unreasonably dangerous appliance. Her claim, filed on September 26, 2017, has been referred to arbitration.
New Pressure Cooker Lawsuit Referred To ArbitrationIn her complaint, filed in the US District Court of New Jersey, Newark Division, the woman says a Power Pressure Cooker XL she received as a gift in 2015 suddenly blew up as she was preparing a meal. She claims "scalding hot liquid, contents, and steam" flew out of the cooker, causing "severely painful and disfiguring burns," along with mental anguish.
The case, registered as number 2:17-cv-07475-WHW-CLW, has already been referred to arbitration, a form of alternative dispute resolution in which plaintiffs and defendants will present their sides of the argument without going to trial.
More formal than mediation, arbitration proceedings are presided over by a neutral third-party (often a former judge or experienced attorney) who will hear arguments, listen to witness testimony and ultimately make a decision. Arbitrators have the right, but not the obligation, to render legally-binding judgments. Thus arbitration often comes to replace, rather than supplement, the civil court process.
The Growing Power Pressure Cooker XL LitigationOver 20 similar lawsuits have been filed against Tristar in federal courts across the country. The rate of filing has increased substantially in recent weeks. Just four days before the Texas woman filed her own claim, two Power Pressure Cooker XL lawsuits, making strikingly-similar allegations, were filed in Florida. Three other pressure cooker lawsuits were filed in August. In July, a class action involving these issues reached trial, but was settled before Tristar could present its defense arguments.
Chinese Manufacturers Named As Co-DefendantsAmerica's long tradition of product liability law places the responsibility for defective products on all companies within the "chain of distribution." Thus a manufacturer, quality tester, distributor and retailer can all be held accountable for injuries caused by the same product.
In line with this legal theory, the Texas woman has named a number of Chinese pressure cooker manufacturers as additional defendants:
- Zhongshan USATA Electric Appliance Co.
- a "comprehensive manufacturer that specializes in developing and producing household electrical appliances" based in Zhongshan, China
- Zhongshan Jinguang Household Appliance Manufacture Co.
- Pro QC International
- a product inspection and quality control firm incorporated in Germany and headquartered in Hong Kong
- Zhongshan Jincheng Electric Appliance Co.
- an injection molding factory in Zhongshan, China
Plaintiff: Tristar Failed To Warn ConsumersVery simply, she says, the pressure cooker is defective. It should not explode under normal operating conditions. No consumer product should and, needless to say, the average consumer would never expect a pressure cooker, designed for home use, to blow up at a moment's notice, she continues. Despite their understandable expectations, the lawsuit continues, dozens of consumers have found that the Power Pressure Cooker XL does explode, without warning, causing severe personal injuries.
Many of these terrifying incidents have been reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an agency of the US federal government. The defendants, the woman says, were put on watch about this problem. Yet none of the companies, she claims, have attempted to warn consumers in an way, to say nothing of a recall.