The Emeril Lagasse Power Airfryer 360 is at the center of a proposed class action filed this week that claims the appliance is defective and could pose a significant safety risk to users and their property.
According to the 57-page case out of Florida, the Emeril Lagasse Power Airfryer 360, 360 XL, Deluxe and Plus models are plagued by a “serious and dangerous” design or manufacturing defect that allegedly causes the appliances to overheat, catch fire or smoke during regular use.
More specifically, the lawsuit claims the air fryers’ improper air circulation and “excessive heating elements” can cause the appliances to overheat, reaching temperatures hundreds of degrees above what’s considered safe. Compounding this issue is the apparently defective design of the Emeril air fryers’ drip tray, which the suit says allows flammable food drippings to come in contact with the bottom heating elements.
Moreover, the lack of an operational safety mechanism to turn off the appliance when it becomes too hot further exacerbates the risk that the air fryer will catch fire, overheat or smoke, the lawsuit alleges.
The case claims defendant Tristar Products, Inc. knew about the Emeril Lagasse Power Airfryer’s propensity to overheat and catch fire yet failed to warn potential buyers or recall the products. Per the lawsuit, consumers overpaid for the defective air fryers and have been robbed of the represented value of their purchases.
“The Defect renders the Air Fryers unfit for the ordinary purpose for which they are used, which is to reliably and safely cook food,” the complaint contests. “Had Plaintiffs, Class Members, and the consuming public known that the Air Fryers were defective and would cause damage to other property, or a serious risk of personal injury, they would not have purchased the Air Fryers at all or would not have paid the price they did.”
Lawsuit Claims Emeril Lagasse Power Airfryers Are Defectively Designed, Manufactured
The lawsuit alleges the Emeril Lagasse Power Airfryers’ tendency to overheat and potentially catch fire is the result of a perfect storm of excessive heating elements, improper air circulation and a poorly designed drip tray.
According to the suit, the air fryers are designed and manufactured with five heating elements and a “smart fan” that Tristar touts as able to provide “a whirlwind of super-heated air for even cooking.” The case alleges, however, that the “excessive heating elements” and the fan’s failure to properly circulate the air inside the Power Airfryers allows them to reach temperatures of 537°C (or 1000°F), well above the 310 to 360°C range considered to be the maximum for safe air fryer cooking.
The lawsuit goes on to claim that the Power Airfryer’s drip tray design unsafely allows food drippings to come into contact with the appliance’s bottom heating elements. Because Tristar “[r]emarkably” instructs consumers to place the drip tray below the bottom heating elements, which do not have any protection above or around them, flammable drippings inevitably land on the heating elements while food is being cooked, the suit relays. This is “particularly dangerous,” the case says, given overheated cooking fats are known to spontaneously ignite when they reach temperatures between 310 and 360°C.
“Thus, the fact that the Air Fryers reach up to 537°C (1000°F) due to the lack of air circulation and proper ventilation, almost ensures that the drippings from the food will ignite while in use,” the complaint attests.
The lawsuit adds that if Tristar had installed an operational safety mechanism in its Power Airfryers, the devices would shut off when they became too hot.
The Plaintiffs’ Experiences
The two plaintiffs in the case are a Miami resident and a Bayonne, New Jersey resident who claim to have purchased their Emeril Lagasse Power Airfryer 360s in April and August 2020, respectively.
The Miami plaintiff says she noticed her air fryer “would overheat and smoke excessively during every use” and leak oil even though she cleaned it each time she cooked with the device. Moreover, the fan on the woman’s air fryer “acted uncontrollably” and sometimes turned itself on, prompting her to unplug the appliance whenever she wasn’t using it, the suit relays.
While the plaintiff contacted Tristar to express her growing concern about the personal safety of her family and home, the company ultimately denied her claim for a replacement because it had been more than 90 days after she purchased the device and her “90-Day Money Back Guarantee” had expired, the case says.
The New Jersey plaintiff says that although she carefully followed the safety and usage instructions that came with her air fryer, the “entire interior” of the appliance caught fire in March 2021 while she was cooking a chicken. While the plaintiff attempted to contact Tristar about the incident, she allegedly received no response.
The lawsuit claims “numerous” consumers have reported similar experiences in online complaints, including reviews on Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Bed Bath & Beyond’s website. Despite consumers’ complaints, Tristar has “fraudulently concealed” the apparent defect and failed to remedy the Power Airfryers’ problems, the suit alleges. Instead, the defendant has improperly denied warranty claims, replaced the defective products with similarly defective air fryers, required consumers to ship back their appliances to Tristar at their own expense, and refused to recall the products, according to the complaint.
Who Does the Lawsuit Look to Cover?
The proposed class action seeks to represent anyone in Florida or New Jersey who purchased a Tristar-manufactured air fryer from an authorized retailer.
What if I Live in a Different State?
The case is currently looking to cover only Florida or New Jersey residents, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take action if you live in a different state.
If you want to find out more about your legal rights and options as they apply to you, you may want to reach out to an attorney. Most offer free initial consultations.
How Do I Join the Lawsuit?
There’s usually nothing you need to do to join a class action lawsuit when it’s first filed. If the case moves forward and settles, that’s when those covered by the lawsuit (called class members) should receive notice of the settlement and be able to claim whatever compensation the court deems appropriate.
Check back to this page for notable updates about the case’s progress, but keep in mind that it could take months or even years before a resolution is reached.
If you want to get class action news and settlement information sent straight to your inbox, sign up for ClassAction.org’s free weekly newsletter here.