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An Instant Pot filled with a mix of tomato, rice, and hot peppers
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A Georgia couple recently filed a new Tristar pressure cooker lawsuit in the Northern District of Georgia. They claim that the product malfunctioned, causing severe injuries, and seek to recover their losses from the manufacturer.

Tristar Represents Product as ‘Loaded with Safety Features’

According to the complaint, for several months before purchasing the Tristar Power Pressure Cooker XL, the plaintiff viewed on several different occasions the company’s infomercial about the product, which featured celebrity chef Eric Theiss and other participants. Tristar represented that its cooker was easy to use and was “one of the safest” pressure cookers, with and “airtight lid that locks into place, trapping super-heated steam inside.”

Relying upon these representations regarding the safety and ease of use of the product, the plaintiff placed an order for it around March 2016. After she received the product in the mail, she viewed a YouTube video again featuring Theiss, in which Tristar represented that locking the unit “couldn’t be easier,” and that the cooker was “loaded with safety features” perfect for the new user.

Theiss also demonstrated in that video the “quick” release of steam by using his hand to manually rotate the release valve. He commented that the “steam is practically harmless” while grabbing and shaking the lid, commenting, “even now, if I wanted to, I still can’t open the lid, because the pressure is still inside, so as the pressure releases, the pressure cooker knows that, it’s going to unlock for us automatically.”

The plaintiff alleges she read the user’s manual accompanying the pressure cooker and noticed the verbiage explaining how to use the pressure valve and how to depressurize the unit so that the lid could be removed. She then used the product without incident until Dec. 14, 2018.

Tristar Pot Explodes Without Warning, Burns Plaintiff

On that date, the plaintiff alleges that she was preparing food for her family and decided to use the pressure cooker. Believing that the cooker was incapable of pressurizing without its lid being placed in a fully locked position and that the lid could not come off if pressure remained inside the pot, she used the cooker to prepare the meal.

Despite following instructions for use, the plaintiff ended up getting hurt. The plaintiff alleges that when she attempted to remove the lid, instead of acting as advertised, the pot suddenly and without warning exploded, sending the hot and scalding contents into the air and onto the plaintiff. She suffered severe, painful burns that required medical treatment.

As a result of this incident, the plaintiff now suffers from permanent scarring, skin discoloration, lack of sensation, and sensitivity, among other injuries and damages.

Tristar Makes Safety Upgrades to Product

Unbeknownst to the plaintiffs at the time of this incident, Tristar had already received and continued to receive hundreds of reports of serious injuries and property damage resulting from other similar incidences. The company was actually making several design changes to the product, adding safety devices such as a magnetic lid sensor to prevent the product from achieving pressure unless the lid was fully locked, along with a pressure gauge to indicate when the lid was safe to be opened.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) was actively investigating Tristar’s pressure cookers, including the one plaintiff used, and had issued a recall regarding certain models, requesting that Tristar stop selling them due to the number of problems reported. Yet Tristar failed to take action to prevent further harm.

The plaintiffs bring claims of strict liability and negligence and seek compensatory and punitive damages.

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