Instant Pot Exploded and Caused Severe Burns After Pressure Cooker Safety Features Failed, Lawsuit Alleges

Plaintiff was able to remove the lid while the contents were still under pressure due to safety feature failures, the lawsuit claims

A lawsuit filed against the makers of Instant Pot indicates that a Philadelphia woman suffered severe burns when the pressure cooker exploded, after safety features failed to prevent the lid from being removed while the scalding hot contents were still pressurized.

Amber Durham filed the complaint (PDF) earlier this month in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, indicating that the much-touted safety features on the Instant Pot failed, rendering the pressure cooker defective and unreasonably dangerous.

Durham suffered serious and substantial burns in December 2019, when she was able to rotate and remove the lid of her Instant Pot Programmable Electric Pressure Cooker, unaware that the contents were still under pressure. The Instant Pot exploded and “forcefully ejected” the cooking food onto her, which the lawsuit blames on the failure of the pressure cooker’s safety failures.

“Specifically, said defects manifest themselves when, despite Defendant’s statements, the lid of the pressure cooker is removable with built-up pressure, heat and steam still inside the unit. When the lid is removed under such circumstances, the pressure trapped within the unit causes the scalding hot contents to be projected from the unit and into the surrounding area, including onto the unsuspecting consumers, their families and other bystanders,” Durham’s lawsuit states. “Plaintiff was able to remove the lid while the pressure cooker retained pressure, causing Plaintiff serious and substantial bodily injuries and damages.”

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The lawsuit presents claims of strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty. She seeks both compensatory and punitive damages.

Pressure Cooker Lawsuits Over Safety Feature Failures

The case joins dozens of similar pressure cooker lawsuits filed in recent months, each raising allegations about unreasonably dangerous designs and defective safety features on several modern devices, including Instant Pot, Crock-Pot, Ninja Foodi and other brands.

Most of the problems involve severe pressure cooker burn injuries that occurred the lid was removed while the contents are still under high pressure, typically resulting in burns covering a large percentage of the user’s body. However, other injuries linked to pressure cookers have included eye injuries, broken bones and other complications that resulted from electrocutions, spills or explosions.

As more of these electric pressure cookers have been introduced in recent years, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued several pressure cooker recalls over problems where lids were able to be opened while contents are under pressure, allowing hot contents to be expelled and causing a scald or burn injury to individuals in the immediate area.

Most recently, a massive Crock-Pot recall was issued in November 2020, impacting nearly 1 million 6-Quart Express Crock Multi-Cookers with lid locking defects, after at least 99 burn injuries were reported.

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