A proposed class action lawsuit filed in California federal court alleges NutriBullet blenders suffer from a design defect that can cause the devices to explode without warning. The 64-page complaint claims that, in a matter of seconds, a NutriBullet’s blades can heat up the contents inside the canister to a temperature that can cause the device to explode unexpectedly even when used properly. Defendant NutriBullet, LLC has known of the defect for years, the suit charges, yet has failed to warn consumers or issue a recall. Worse, the complaint alleges NutriBullet “has and continues to fraudulently conceal and intentionally fail to disclose” that its blenders pose a serious safety risk.
What does the case say about the alleged defect?
NutriBullet warns that its blenders should not be used for longer than 60 seconds at a time, as they’re likely to overheat and stop working once the device’s safety feature kicks in. This safety advisory is more or less moot because, as the complaint claims, the food content inside a sealed NutriBullet canister, when combined with the speed of the blade, can cause the appliance to dangerously heat up even when used for less than 60 seconds.
The lawsuit says the inside of a NutriBullet canister can become so pressurized during use that the canister can separate from the other parts of the blender during operation. When this occurs, the now-hot contents of the canister—as well as parts of the blender itself—can spew out onto anything and anyone in proximity, sometimes causing severe burns, the suit claims. Even if a canister does not explode, that doesn’t mean the user is in the clear, according to the complaint:
The sealed canister pressurizes during the blending process, and if it has not exploded, the user may find the canister difficult to remove from the blade assembly lid. Once the user gets the lid to release, at times it shoots off the canister without warning. Again, when this occurs, it puts the user at risk of the flying blade and scalding hot contents spilling and burning the skin.”
According to the lawsuit, NutriBullet’s blenders have been manufactured in such a way that they simply cannot be used safely without the risk of exploding.
Which specific blenders are mentioned in the lawsuit?
The possibly defective blender models include all NutriBullets manufactured between January 1, 2007 and the present.
Does the case say anything about warranties?
NutriBullet offers a one-year written warranty on its products with an option for consumers to buy an extended warranty, the case says. Such warranties reportedly state NutriBullet’s blenders “will be free of defects in materials and workmanship for one year from the date of purchase.” The lawsuit alleges these warranties are unconscionable and unenforceable, nothing more than contracts of adhesion that limit consumers’ negotiating power. From the case:
The Blenders are defective from the point of sale, thus, NutriBullet breaches its warranty that Blenders will be free of defects in materials and workmanship for at least the first year after the date of purchase.
The disparity in bargaining power is great. NutriBullet controls what the warranty covers and how long it will last. It is a contract of adhesion. [The plaintiff] and Class Members have no meaningful choice or negotiating power with regard to the warranty. [The plaintiff] and Class Members must take-it or leave-it.”
All told, the case claims NutriBullet’s warranties exist to limit remedies available to consumers who had no idea the blenders were defective and would fail well before the end of their expected lifespan, which is roughly 10 to 25 years.
But I make smoothies all the time.
Evidently, so did the plaintiff. The woman, a South Carolina resident, claims that roughly two years after she received her NutriBullet 900 Series as a gift, she was blending water, walnuts, sea moss and cinnamon for under 60 seconds when she noticed “something was strange with the seals on the blender” before it suddenly exploded. The damage was not pretty, the suit says, and the plaintiff had to be treated for burns:
The explosion sent the mixed, and now extremely hot, ingredients flying.
They sprayed onto her cabinets, walls, and ceiling.
The hot mixture spewed onto [the plaintiff], damaging her clothing. But, more importantly, it got on her arms and chest causing her skin to burn and requiring her to seek medical treatment at Joseph M. Still Burn Centers, Inc. and Health First in Charleston, South Carolina.”
According to the lawsuit, the incident caused the plaintiff to suffer second-degree burns on her chest and first-degree burns on her arms, forcing the woman to miss work and pay nearly $6,000 in medical expenses to date.
Which consumers are covered by this lawsuit?
The lawsuit looks to cover consumers nationwide who bought or otherwise acquired an affected NutriBullet blender for personal, family or household purposes within the “fullest period allowed by law.”
And what do I have to do to join this class action?
Nothing. Just sit tight and stay informed. In general, you don’t have to do anything to join a class action and will only need to act when and if a case settles.