Tristar Power Pressure Cooker Explosion Lawsuit
Electric pressure cookers have gained popularity over the last decade. These high-pressure devices exist in millions of households throughout the U.S. Though these cookers are loved by millions, some are known to be defective and have caused serious injuries during normal use.
Imagine seeing a new pressure cooker advertised on television. “Healthy meals in minutes,” the announcer says. You listen as he describes the high-pressure cooker that makes delicious homemade meals “in a fraction of the time.”
Enjoy pot roast, meatballs, lasagna, ribs, and more ten times faster than normal. Go from freezer to table in 15 minutes or less! One button, one pot kitchen miracle feeds your family wholesome, nutritious meals without you having to slave over a hot stove for hours.
You think that sounds good, so you order the device. When it arrives, you can’t wait to give it a try. You decide to start small and prepare pinto beans for your evening meal. You follow the instructions carefully, cook the beans, and then unplug the device and let it sit until it’s time to eat. Two hours later, without warning, the cooker explodes.
The lid blows off and the beans burst out of the cooker and land on you. You suffer extensive and severe burns and have to be rushed to the hospital. You undergo treatment for your injuries lasting 20 days, and you continue to suffer pain and permanent scarring afterward.
That’s exactly what allegedly happened to a Texas woman who ordered a Tristar Power Pressure Cooker XL. Believing that the cooker would operate as expected from the television advertisements, she bought it in good faith, hoping to enjoy years of home-cooked meals with her family.
The plaintiff filed a Pressure Cooker lawsuit against Tristar Products, Inc., claiming that the company defectively designed its product and failed to warn consumers of the risks.
Unfortunately, she isn’t the only one to have suffered from injuries after a pressure cooker allegedly exploded and similar pressure cooker cases are being examined throughout the U.S., in the hopes of recovering damages for other consumers who were seriously hurt.
An Overview of Pressure Cookers
A pressure cooker uses steam pressure inside a sealed pot to help foods cook faster while sealing in moisture and tenderness. Pressure cooking devices heat water or broth inside a closed pressure cooker to create steam. The trapped steam then increases temperature, while also increasing the internal pressure inside the airtight pot.
These two forces together cook food much more quickly than other methods, usually in 1/3 of the ordinary cooking time and often over ten times faster. The higher the pressure inside the cooker, the shorter the cooking time. The pressure forces the liquid into the food, helping it to cook faster and resulting in a more tender result.
Food cooked in a pressure cooker can also taste better because it was kept moist while cooking and is cooked for a shorter period of time.
It’s described as being tender, “falling off the bone,” and juicy, and is said to retain more nutrients than with other types of cooking, such as boiling in water. The high pressure also promotes caramelization and browning in a way that combines the flavors more deeply.
Pressure cookers have been around for a long time, but they fell out of favor after the 1950s, often because of fears of explosions or burns.
New designs, however, appeared to be safer, as they require the lid to be locked before pressure build-up, and often have multiple ways to release pressure. The idea of having a tasty, nutritious meal in minutes is attractive to busy, modern-day Americans, and sales have skyrocketed in recent years.
What is the Tristar Power Pressure Cooker XL?
The Tristar Power Pressure Cooker XL was designed and manufactured by Tristar Products, Inc., a company headquartered in New Jersey.
It is fairly new on the market. The company applied for a trademark and copyright protection in 2014, and the product was soon available at major retailers like Wal-Mart, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Target.
Over the past year, however, it has been the subject of a number of injury complaints.
According to its website, the Tristar Power Pressure Cooker XL “allows the at-home cook to have an affordable, healthy and homemade meal on the table in minutes.”
The manufacturer states that the product “prepares family favorite recipes up to 70% faster than other conventional ways of cooking,” and that the technology guarantees the food will be delicious, too.
The manufacturer also states that its product has several safety features, including:
- Temperature controls to ensure even heat;
- Cutoff mechanisms to prevent dangerously high temperatures;
- Safety pressure release valve and back-up release valve;
- Pressure monitor to prevent dangerous steam build-up; and
- A mechanism that prevents opening of the lid until the pressure is properly vented.
A review of the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC’s) “Safer Products” database, though, shows multiple reports of problems with the Tristar Pressure Cooker.
In November 2016, for instance, a consumer reported she had been cooking apples in the cooker when she let the pressure off and tried to open it. The steam was out, but the cooker exploded. One of the hot apples blew out and burned her left arm. She had to go to the emergency room, where she was diagnosed with second- and third-degree burns.
Other reports tell similar stories. Consumers allegedly used the product as instructed but were still burned. There are stories of people unplugging the device before trying to open it, and still encountering explosions and suffering burns.
What’s Wrong with the Tristar Power Pressure Cooker?
Most devices used in the kitchen are not completely safe. The stove is hot, knives are sharp, and accidents happen. But these pressure cookers may have a design flaw that is causing them to explode even when consumers follow the directions, and even when the pressure seems to be released.
Promotional videos for the pressure cooker claim that the lid stays in place until the pressure dissipates and it is safe to remove, but that may not always be happening. Consumers who have suffered injuries and filed lawsuits claim that the manufacturer failed to provide appropriate warnings about the dangers and add that the system is defective because it can explode even when it’s unplugged and properly vented.
The device may have one or more defects causing these explosions. Such defects could be related to the safety valve, the lid-sealing mechanism, or could be in some other part of the cooker.
My Pressure Cooker Exploded, What Do I Do?
If you’re the unfortunate victim of a pressure cooker explosion, the first thing to do is to seek immediate medical attention.
First-degree burns are mild and result only in reddening of the skin. Second-degree burns affect the lower layers of skin and will appear red and swollen, and will develop blisters. Third-degree burns go through all the skin layers to affect the tissues underneath, and will appear white or blackened, and may feel numb.
Once the wounds are treated, keep the pressure cooker for evidence, and contact an experienced product liability lawyer for help with your exploding pressure cooker case. You may be eligible to file a pressure cooker lawsuit to recover damages.
Types of Injuries with the Tristar Power Pressure Cooker
When the product explodes, it sends out food and steam into the surrounding area. Home cooks and others who are nearby may suffer from the following types of injuries:
- Burns to all areas of the body;
- Minor, moderate, and severe burns, often requiring immediate medical attention;
- Pain and disfigurement;
- Permanent scarring; and
- Scratches and wounds from glass shards flying about.
Of particular concern is that children could also be severely injured if they are nearby when the pressure cooker explodes.
In addition to these injuries, the explosions also tend to make giant messes. Consumers describe food becoming stuck on the ceiling, trapped in the crevices of cabinets, and spread over the floor.
No Tristar Power Pressure Cooker XL Recall Yet
At the time of this writing, Tristar has not recalled their Power Pressure Cooker XL. Other companies that have experienced safety issues with their products have removed them from the market.
There are other brands of pressure cookers that have been linked to reports of injuries, including:
Breville recalled more than 35,000 of its Fast Slow Cookers at the end of 2015 because of a defect that caused explosions and burns.
Fagor America is a European brand of cookware and major appliances, with U.S. headquarters in Lyndhurst, New Jersey. Fagor manufactures several brands of pressure cookers, including Innova, Rapid Express, Splendid, Duo, Elite, and Chef.
In one incident report, a consumer stated she was using a Nutrimaster pressure cooker (also made by Fagor) when the pressure indicator blew out of the pressure cooker lid. In a 2017 incident report, the user stated that the cooker malfunctioned and “blew the gasket and went off like a bomb.” Fagor also manufacturers Casa Essential pressure cookers, which have been the source of a number of reported explosions.
Tabletops Unlimited / Philippe Richard
Tabletops Unlimited (TTU) manufactures and sells houseware products including cookware, serve ware, storage, and on-the-go products. They are headquartered in Carson, California, and have been in business since 1983.
They manufacturer pressure cookers under brands like Bella, Basic Essentials, and Casa Maria. They also produce Philippe Richard and Denmark Tools for Cooks, and it is these two cookers that have been more frequently linked with reports of explosions. TTU no longer lists cookers from either Phillippe Richard or Denmark on its website.
Maxi-Matic manufacturers small appliances and is based in City of Industry, California. They produce pressure cookers under brands like Elite Platinum and Bistro Pressure Cookers. They sell through online retailers like Amazon and Wayfair, as well as on the Home Shopping Network (HSN).
Their Elite pressure cookers have been linked with reports of explosions and injuries, and have been the source of lawsuits filed by injured consumers. In 2015, for example, a California woman filed a pressure cooker lawsuit against both Kohl’s, where she bought the pressure cooker, and Maxi-Matic, the manufacturer. She claimed that she were preparing chicken broth in the cooker, and after it completed cooking and turned off, she let it sit for 45 minutes, then depressurized it, added some seasoning, and replaced the lid for another 25 minutes. All seemed in order but then the pressure cooker exploded, covering her with hot water and steam, and leaving her with second- and third-degree burns.
NuWave is a small appliance company that says it creates “safe, environmentally friendly products that can improve the quality of life.” They were founded in 1993 under a different name, and adopted the name “NuWave” in 2014.
Headquartered in Libertyville, Illinois, they produce NuWave pressure cookers, which have been reported to explode. A New Orleans chef, for example, claimed that his NuWave cooker malfunctioned and caused second- and third-degree burns on his chest, face, and arms. According to him, it exploded after he had released the pressure as indicated in the instruction manual. He filed a lawsuit in December 2017.
Wolfgang Puck was founded by chef Wolfgang Puck, and encompasses three companies: Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, Wolfgang Puck Catering, and Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc.
It is the last one that manufacturers and licenses consumer products, including stainless steel cookware, small kitchen electrics like grills and blenders, and pressure cookers.
These cookers have also been the subject of reports of explosions. In 2017, for example, a Texas woman filed a pressure cooker lawsuit claiming her Wolfgang Puck cooker exploded and blew hot gumbo and steam, causing her second- and third-degree burns. She stated that the cooker beeped at the end of the cooking cycle, so she unplugged it and allowed the steam to vent for 20 minutes as instructed, but when she removed the lid the contents blew out.
Tristar has yet to publicly address the issue of the Power Pressure Cooker XL explosions. Meanwhile, several consumers have filed lawsuits against the company seeking damages for their injuries.
- ALDI Chef’s Collection Pressure Cooker
- Bella Cucina “Zip Cooker”
- Blusmart (sold on Amazon)
- Cook’s Essentials
- Elite Bistro (Electric Pressure Cooker)
- Instant Pot (Insta Pot)
- QVC (Electric Pressure Cooker)
File a Tristar Power Pressure Cooker XL Lawsuit
Consumers who purchased a Tristar Power Pressure Cooker XL—or any other brand of power pressure cooker—and then suffered serious injuries because of an explosion or other potential design defects, may be eligible to recover damages in a pressure cooker lawsuit.
Chaffin Luhana, personal injury attorneys in Pittsburgh, provides consultations and case evaluations to help patients determine whether they may have a case against Tristar. Call today at 1-888-480-1123.