Instant Pot Safety Features Failed, Leading to Severe Burns from Pressure Cooker, Lawsuit Claims

Lawsuit indicates Instant Pot failed to prevent lid from being removed while hot contents were still cooking under pressure

A California woman indicates in a recently filed lawsuit that the failure of Instant Pot safety features, which are highly-touted in marketing for the electronic pressure cooker, caused her to suffer severe burns when the lid was opened while the contents were still pressurized, forcefully ejecting scalding hot contents onto her body.

The complaint (PDF) was filed last week by Jillian Elizabeth Clanton in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging that Instant Brands, Inc. sold defective pressure cookers, and overstated the effectiveness of the purported features that were intended to make pressure cooking safe.

Clanton indicates she was left with serious and substantial pressure cooker burns on November 28, 2019, when the lid was rotated and opened, despite claims that Instant Pot safety features would prevent it from being opened while the contents were under pressure.

“The incident occurred as a result of the failure of the pressure cooker’s supposed ‘safety mechanism,’ which purport to keep the consumer safe while using the pressure cooker,” Clanton’s lawsuit states. “In addition, the incident occurred as a result of the Defendant’s failure to redesign the pressure cooker, despite the existence of economical, safer alternative designs.”

Clanton’s lawsuit presents claims of strict products liability, negligent products liability, and breach of warranty.

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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