Presto Pressure Cooker Lawsuit Filed After Serious Burns Caused By Defective Safety Features

The manufacturer knew about the defective safety features, but sold the devices anyway, according to the Presto pressure cooker lawsuit.

An Illinois woman alleges in a recently filed lawsuit that known defects with a Presto pressure cooker were ignored by the manufacturer, indicating that safety features failed to prevent the lid from being removed while the contents were still cooking, which caused scalding hot food to explode out of the pressure cooker and burn large parts of her body..

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Vanessa Biggers in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin on May 6, pursuing damages from National Presto Industries, Inc. as the defendant.

According to the lawsuit, Biggers suffered serious and substantial burn injuries in June 2020, when her Presto pressure cooker allowed her to open it while the contents were still pressurized, which she had no way of knowing. As a result of the defect, hot liquid inside the pressure cooker exploded into the room and onto her body.

The case raises allegations similar to those presented in a growing number of pressure cooker lawsuits filed in recent months against various manufacturers, including Instant Pot, Crock-Pot and others. Each of the complaints highlight known problems and defects with modern electronic pressure cookers, which have been advertised as containing advanced safety features that are supposed to prevent the devices from exploding.

Biggers indicates the manufacturer knew or should have known about the defective safety features, yet continued to market the pressure cooker as safe.

“[S]aid 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,” Biggers’ lawsuit states. “Defendant knew or should have known of these defects but has nevertheless put profit ahead of safety by continuing to sell its pressure cookers to consumers, failing to warn said consumers of the serious risks posed by the defects, and failing to recall the dangerously defective pressure cookers regardless of the risk of significant injuries to Plaintiff and consumers like her.”

Pressure Cooker Lawsuits Over Safety Feature Failures

Modern electronic pressure cookers have become increasingly popular in recent decades, amid the introduction of products like Presto, Instant Pot, Crock-Pot, Ninja Foodi and others, which were promoted with safety features intended to address concerns about pressure cooker explosions associated with traditional stove-top devices.

However, a number of severe and debilitating injuries have been reported, where the safety features failed and allowed the lid to be removed while the contents were still cooking. Typically, this causes scalding hot food to be forcefully ejected from the exploding pressure cooker, often resulting in severe burns over large areas of the users 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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