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Cooking dinner in a pressure cooker in a modern kitchen.

A Texas woman claims that the Crock-Pot Express Crock Multicooker is defective, and seeks to hold the manufacturer liable for injuries she says she sustained when using it.

She filed a new pressure cooker lawsuit on August 12, 2022, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. She seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

Plaintiff Claims Crock-Pot Multi-Cooker Defective

According to her complaint, the plaintiff was using her Crock-Pot pressure cooker on September 8, 2020, when she suffered serious and substantial burn injuries. She was able to rotate and open the cooker’s lid while it was still under pressure—which according to the manufacturer’s advertisements, she should not have been able to do.

The scalding hot contents in the pot then spewed onto the plaintiff, burning her. She blames the failure of the cooker’s “built-in safety features,” which were supposed to keep the lid locked as long as the cooker was still under pressure.

Plaintiff’s Cooker Recalled Two Months After Incident

Manufacturer Sunbeam recalled more than 900,000 Crock-Pot pressure cookers—including the plaintiff’s model—on November 24, 2020, just a couple of months after the plaintiff’s incident. The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) noted in its announcement of the recall that Sunbeam had received 119 reports of lid detachment, resulting in 99 burn injuries ranging in severity from first-degree to third-degree burns.

The problem was that the cooker could pressurize while the lid was not “fully locked.” This could cause the lid to explode off while the cooker was in use, posing burn risks to consumers.

The plaintiff claims that Sunbeam knew or should have known about these defects before the recall, but 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.”

Manufacturers Tout Safety Features, Yet Reports Show They Don’t Work

This case joins many others that have been filed concerning Crock-Pot and other brands of pressure cookers like Instant Pot, NuWave Nutri-Pot, and Ninja Foodie. All of these cases share similar questions of fact—namely, whether the manufacturers’ safety mechanisms were defectively designed and advertised, and failed to operate as they should.

What’s particularly concerning to these consumers is that the manufacturers heavily touted their safety features, convincing consumers that they could use these devices without fear of being harmed. The owner’s manual for the Crock-Pot Multi-Cooker, for instance, claims that the cooker was designed with “various safety measures.”

Specifically, Sunbeam notes that safety sensors will keep the lid from being opened while the unit is under pressure, and that “pressure will not build if the lid is not shut correctly and has not sealed,” and that “once the pressure increases, the lid cannot be opened.”

Yet that’s exactly why the company eventually recalled its cookers—pressure did build up when the lid was not shut correctly, and once the pressure increased, the lids could be opened in certain instances.

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