A product liability lawsuit alleges safety features on Instant Pot pressure cookers are defective, and failed to prevent an Illinois woman from removing the lid while the contents were under extreme pressure, causing the hot contents to explode out of the pot and seriously burn her body.
The complaint (PDF) was filed last month by Sondra Sue Deien in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, pursuing claims against Instant Brands, Inc. for selling programmable electric pressure cookers which are poorly designed and provide ineffective safety features, which the company has promoted as foolproof.
Deien was using her Instant Pot in July 2019, when she was able to rotate and open the Instant Pot’s lid without knowing the contents were still under pressure. This caused hot liquid to spray out and onto Deien, who suffered serious and substantial burn injuries.
The lawsuit claims the accident occurred because of the failure of Instant Pot’s built-in safety features, which were supposed to prevent such an event from happening.
“Defendant touts the ‘safety’ of its pressure cookers, and states that they cannot be opened while in use,” Deien’s lawsuit states. “Despite Defendant’s claims of ‘safety,’ it designed, manufactured, marketed, imported, distributed and sold, both directly and through third-party retailers, a product that suffers from serious and dangerous defects. Such defects cause significant risk of bodily harm and injury to its consumers.”
The case joins a growing number of similar pressure cooker lawsuits filed in recent months, each raising similar allegations about unreasonably dangerous designs and defective safety features on several modern designs, including products sold under the Instant Pot, Crock-Pot, Ninja Foodi and other popular brands.
The most common pressure cooker injuries occur when the safety features fail to prevent the lid from being removed while the contents are still under high pressure, which can result in burns ranging from first to third degree, and typically cover a large percentage of a person’s body. These types of burn injuries can leave patients prone to infections and sometimes requiring amputations. 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.