Instant Pot Pressure Cookers Can ‘Erupt’ When Opened, Class Action Claims
by Erin Shaak
A proposed class action filed last week alleges certain Instant Pot pressure cookers contain a dangerous defect that allows the appliances to be opened when pressure is still built up inside.
According to the 43-page case, a defective lid-locking assembly can cause an Instant Pot pressure cooker’s “super-heated” contents to burst out as a user is opening the lid, which, in some cases, has given consumers second- and third-degree burns.
Be sure to scroll down to see which Instant Pot products are mentioned in the lawsuit.
Concerningly, the lawsuit claims the apparent defect is “substantially certain” to manifest during an Instant Pot product’s useful life.
Per the case, none of the information available to consumers—including advertisements and the Instant Pot products’ websites and external packaging—disclosed that the pressure cookers are defective and unsafe. Instead, defendant Instant Brands, Inc. touted the products’ “10 proven safety mechanisms” and represented that users could be confident that their pressure cookers are “not going to explode,” the suit says.
The case alleges that the Instant Pot pressure cookers were falsely advertised as safe given the products “do not possess even the most basic degree of fitness for ordinary use.”
Lawsuit says Instant Pot users have reported “serious burn injuries”
The case claims Instant Brands should have been well aware of the dangerous lid-locking defect in its Instant Pot products given customers have been reporting for years that the contents of their pressure cookers “erupt[ed] from the pot” while they were opening the lid.
Below is a sample of consumer complaints that the suit says were posted on Amazon:
Your pot malfunctioned. I opened the lid and hot soup splashed out of the pot all over me. I was seen in the ER and have 2nd degree burns all over my chest.”
— March 8, 2016, Instant Pot DUO60 user
[T]his past Sunday, I had a traumatic encounter. I had the machine in soup mode, and it was cooking for several hours. The machine let me know when it was fine, and I opened the lid. And when I did, a forceful blast occurred. Food and steam shot out of the machine. I suffered severe second- and third-degree burns.”
— August 24, 2016, Instant Pot user
After signaling off and beeping, when I tried to remove the lid the pressure cooker exploded contents causing 2nd and first-degree burns. Paramedics were called and transport to burn trauma unit followed.”
— September 7, 2016, Instant Pot IP-DUO60 V2 user
I suffered a second degree burn on 9/13/16 from using your Instant Pot® pressure cooker. The model I have is IP-DUO60 V2. We just purchased it from Amazon on 9/6/16 and this was only my second time using it. When the accident happened, I was making ox tail soup and when I turned the lid to take it off, it popped off completely and the soup spilled all over my body. It is my understanding that the pot has a safety function where it should not open if there is still too much pressure so this should never have happened.”
— October 7, 2016, Instant Pot® DUO60 V2 user
The float valve was down. I released the steam through the float valve until it wasn’t coming out anymore, then put it back to the closed position. Then I attempted to open it, assuming if there was pressure it wouldn’t allow me to open it. It moved, so I slowly began to open it, then when it unlocked it violently erupted out of the pot and onto my hands, the floor, the cooking surface, the counter, just all over.”
— January 13, 2017, Instant Pot DUO60 V2 user
Pressure cookers fail to meet industry safety standards, lawsuit alleges
The lawsuit claims that although the Instant Pot products were marketed as safe and compliant with certain industry safety standards, the pressure cookers were not adequately tested to ensure that they met those standards.
According to the case, the Underwriters Laboratories 136 Standard for Safety requires that pressure cookers be manufactured in such a way that when there is pressure inside the appliance, the lid cannot be opened by gradually applying a force of 100 pounds or less.
The suit claims that Instant Brands did not perform adequate quality assurance inspections and testing on its Instant Pot products prior to accepting delivery from its Chinese manufacturer of pressure cookers intended to be sold in the U.S.
The case argues that the defendant was nevertheless aware of the lid-locking defect and sold the Instant Pot products anyway, even as customers continued to report that their cooker’s lid had opened while the contents were under pressure.
Per the suit, Instant Brands has not recalled any Instant Pot product or offered customers an option to exchange their pressure cooker for one that has a safer locking pin assembly.
The lawsuit notes that Instant Brands “knew, or should have known,” about another lawsuit against one of its competitors, Tristar Products, that claimed a pressure cooker “substantially similar” to the Instant Pot products was manufactured with a defect that allowed the lid to be opened while the contents were still under pressure. Per the suit, that case resulted in a settlement in August 2018.
Which Instant Pot pressure cookers are mentioned in the lawsuit?
The lawsuit claims the following Instant Pot pressure cookers are defective:
Who does the lawsuit look to cover?
The case looks to represent anyone in the U.S. who purchased and owns one of the Instant Pot products mentioned on this page after September 27, 2013.
How do I join the lawsuit?
There’s usually nothing you need to do to join or be added to a class action lawsuit when it’s first filed. If the case moves forward and settles, the people affected, called class members, should receive notice of the settlement with instructions on how to file a claim for their share.
In the meantime, one of the best things you can do is to stay informed. You can check back to this page for notable updates.
An even easier way to stay in the loop is to get class action news and settlement information sent straight to your inbox by signing up for ClassAction.org’s free weekly newsletter here.
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