Lawsuit Against Instant Pot Alleges Pressure Cooker Lid Lock Failed, Resulting in Severe Burns

Safety features designed to keep the lid from being removed while the contents were under pressure did not work as advertised, the lawsuit claims

Makers of the Instant Pot face a product liability lawsuit, indicating that a California woman suffered severe burns after the pressure cooker lid-lock failed, allowing it to be removed while the contents were still pressurized.

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Rosalina Drayton in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on March 2, alleging that the manufacturer knew or should have known about design problems, but failed to recall Instant Pots, ignoring the risk of pressure cooker explosions when the lid-lock failed.

Drayton inicates that she was using an Instant Pot on March 12, 2020, when the pressure cooker allowed the lid to be turned and removed while the contents were still cooking under high pressure. The lawsuit indicates that this never should not have been possible if the pressure cooker lid-lock had not failed. As a result, scalding hot liquid exploded out of the pressure cooker, leaving her with severe burns on her body.

“The incident occurred as a result of the failure of the pressure cooker’s supposed ‘safety mechanisms,’ which purport to keep the consumer safe while using the pressure cooker,” Drayton’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.”

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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