Sunbeam Crock-Pot Safety Sensors Failed, Leading to Severe Burn Injuries, Lawsuit Claims

During a November 2020 recall, the CPSC reported it received 99 reports of burn injuries linked to the lids coming off of Sunbeam Crock-Pot pressure cookers.

A product liability lawsuit has been filed against Sunbeam by a woman who suffered severe burns after safety sensors on a Crock-Pot Express Crock Multicooker failed, allowing her to open the lid while the contents were still boiling hot and under pressure.

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Karen Yaneire Becerra Olguin in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on February 4, alleging that Sunbeam’s Crock-Pot multicooker suffers from serious and dangerous design defects.

According to the lawsuit, Olguin suffered serious and substantial burn injuries in a pressure cooker accident in February 2020, after the Crock-Pot allowed the lid to be rotated and removed while it was still pressurized. Although the Crock-Pot safety features were supposed to prevent any accidental openings before the pressure has been fully released, the sensors failed, and caused scalding hot contents to be forcefully ejected onto Olguin’s body.

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Pressure Cooker Lawsuits

Faulty and defective designs may cause a pressure cooker to explode, resulting in severe burns and injuries.

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The lawsuit notes that in November 2020, Sunbeam issued a Crock-Pot recall impacting nearly a million 6-Quart Express Crock Multi-Cookers, after the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) received at least 119 reports of lid safety failures, where the lid detached and caused at least 99 burn injuries, including first-degree to third-degree burns.

“Defendant Sunbeam 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 timely recall the dangerously defective Pressure Cookers regardless of the risk of significant injuries to Plaintiff and consumers like her,” the lawsuit notes. “Defendant Sunbeam ignored and/or concealed its knowledge of these defects in its Pressure Cookers from the Plaintiff in this case, as well as the public in general, in order to continue generating a profit from the sale of said Pressure Cookers, demonstrating a callous, reckless, willful, depraved indifference to the health, safety and welfaire of Plaintiff and consumers like her.”

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 Crock-Pot, Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi and other brands.

Most of the accidents involve severe pressure cooker burn injuries that occurred after 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.


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