Crock-Pot Express Pressure Cookers are at the center of a proposed class action that alleges design defects can cause the product to explode and spew out any hot contents therein during the course of normal use. Filed by two Illinois consumers, the 48-page suit further claims defendant Sunbeam Products, which does business as Jarden Consumer Solutions, has misstated and omitted material information concerning the product’s quality and safety features.
The lawsuit says the defendant’s Express Pressure Cooker was introduced as a way to both capitalize on the brand strength of its predecessor, the original Crock-Pot electric slow cooker, and to compete with a new challenger in its once solely-held arena, the Instant Pot. The Express Pressure Cooker, the suit claims, was touted by the defendant as “trusted” and came equipped with a locking, air-tight lid meant to stay sealed under pressure to offer users “peace of mind” while cooking.
Despite Jarden Consumer Solutions’ emphasis on the Express Pressure Cooker’s apparent safety, the complaint claims the product, after generating extreme heat and steam during normal operation, can explode its scalding hot contents when the user opens the lid. Specifically, the product supposedly suffers from what the lawsuit says is a defective pressure release vale that “inaccurately indicates that the built-up pressure has escaped the appliance.” Moreover, the apparent defect involves what the case says is a faulty gasket that allows the Express Pressure Cooker’s lid to be opened despite the presence of built-up pressure inside the product. According to the plaintiffs, the product poses a substantial safety risk. The lawsuit claims consumers cannot use the Express Pressure Cooker for its intended purpose without placing themselves and their families at risk of injury.
The case charges the defendant “knew or should have known” of the apparent defects with its Crock-Pot Express Pressure Cooker yet sold the product without warning consumers of the serious safety risk. The defendant “instead represented safety features would prevent the defect from manifesting,” the lawsuit says, noting that the product has not been recalled by Jarden Consumer Solutions. Consumers would not have purchased the product had they known of the pressure-build-up defect, according to the complaint.
Though one plaintiff does not allege that she suffered any injuries as the result of the apparent defect, the second plaintiff claims in the case that she was severely injured while using the Express Pressure Cooker to cook chicken and rice soup one evening in January 2018. Although the plaintiff waited “many minutes” between seemingly releasing the pressure built up in the cooker via the steam release valve and opening the product’s lid, the contents of the pressure cooker “exploded out of the pot, spraying her hand, wrist and stomach, and her surrounding kitchen area.” the lawsuit says.
Per the suit, the plaintiff suffered first- and second-degree burns and required a trip to the emergency room. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff notified the defendant of her experience, yet the company “did not provide any offers to resolve her injuries or damages,” requesting only that the product be returned for investigation. As the lawsuit tells it, the plaintiff’s experience is not isolated, as other consumers, according to product reviews included in the complaint, have also come across the alleged defect.