Consumers Say Tristar Is Selling Defective Cooker
The Power Pressure Cooker XL is available in many major retailers, including Walmart, Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond. Tristar itself is a major “As Seen On TV” company, responsible for such “direct response” products as the AbRoller and Genie Bra.
Released to the market in 2014, the Power Pressure Cooker XL is marketed as an “amazing, one-button kitchen miracle” – cutting cooking times by up to 70% with the touch of just one button.
How Do Pressure Cookers Work?
The device, powered by electricity, is designed to prepare entire meals from scratch by boiling liquids inside a sealed pot. Pressure cookers trap steam inside a sealed pot, by heating liquids like water or chicken stock. As the steam builds up, the temperature inside the pot increases as well.
Steam has a strange effect on other liquids. When you cook with water, your cooking temperature is normally limited by water’s boiling point, 212°F. Add pressurized steam, though, and the boiling point can rise up to around 250°F. That cooks food faster than conventional methods. The pressure also forces more liquid into your food, which speeds up the cook time even more and tenderizes particularly tough foods, like beef, at a rapid rate.
A Long History Of Safety Concerns
The technology behind pressure cooking came around in the 1600s, Kitchn says, but the technique didn’t really take off until 1938, when Alfred Vischer invented the first cooker designed for home use. Pressure cookers quickly became a staple in the American kitchen, but soon lost popularity, largely due to safety concerns. Early pressure cooker models were dangerous; they could blow up at a moment’s notice, scalding users and causing severe burns.
New companies tell us they’ve solved all the problems posed by pressure cookers of the past. In recent years, pressure cooking has come back into vogue, as thousands of consumers have gone out to buy electronically-controlled models that feature numerous high-tech safety features. It’s troubling, then, that dozens of injured home cooks say new pressure cookers are no safer than old ones.
Is Defect To Blame For Pressure Cooker Explosions?
The Power Pressure Cooker XL is undoubtedly America’s most popular pressure cooker. The machine’s manufacturer, Tristar Products, touts the machine’s multiple safety features, including a “safe lock lid” that becomes nearly impossible to remove when the cooker is still pressurized. A “steam release valve” also ensures that the pressure cooker can be used safely – with little thought on the part of the consumer.
The product’s user manual lists no fewer than six safety features:
- Lid Safety Lock – lid should remain locked while unit is under pressure
- Pressure & Temperature Sensor Controls – sensors should prevent over-heating and excessive pressure by automatically shutting off the unit’s power supply
- Back-Up Safety Release Valve – in the event that the unit’s sensor controls fail, and excessive pressure begins to build up, a back-up valve should kick in to release the pressure
- Clog-Resistant Feature – this feature should prevent food inside the pot from clogging the steam-release valve
- Spring-Loaded Safety Pressure Release – in the event that all other safety features fail, a device underneath the pot’s heating element should automatically separate the inner pot from a rubber gasket, allowing the steam and pressure to escape
- Temperature Cut-Off Device – if the internal temperature rises above a safe level, this device should automatically disconnect the power supply
But as dozens of home cooks have learned, the Power Pressure Cooker XL can explode without warning. Consumers have sustained severe injuries, including first- and second-degree burns, after the pressure cooker blew up.
Tristar Hit With Power Pressure Cooker XL Lawsuits
While no kitchen appliance is without inherent risks, some consumers believe that the Power Pressure Cooker XL is defective. A faulty valve, they say, causes pressure to build and build inside the cooker – with no way of escaping. When the pressure cooker is opened – and despite Tristar’s advertisements of a “safe lock lid” – the machine blows up, spewing hot foods and liquids over unsuspecting users.
The danger is only magnified if a young child happens to be in the kitchen at the same time. Another thing to remember is that many of these explosions have resulted in extensive property damage.
Over 20 pressure cooker lawsuits have already been filed against Tristar Products, with injured consumers seeking significant financial compensation for alleged burn injuries and emotional trauma. Our experienced product liability lawyers are leading this growing litigation. To date, our national network of attorneys has filed defective pressure cooker claims on behalf of at least 13 injured consumers.
Our Attorneys Lead Pressure Cooker Litigation
Our latest case was filed on behalf of 6 consumers on November 7, 2017 in a Pennsylvania State court. In their lawsuit, which has been registered as case number 171100491, accuses Tristar of selling a pressure cooker with dangerous design defects. “When the lid is removed, the pressure trapped within the unit causes the hot liquid contents to be projected from the unit and into the surrounding area, including onto the unsuspecting consumer and their families,” court documents say.
Our attorneys filed a similar lawsuit on behalf of 6 other plaintiffs one month earlier, on September 19, 2017. All of the consumers say they suffered serious and substantial burn injuries after a Power Pressure Cooker XL unexpectedly exploded. The case has been logged as number 170902183 in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
Texas Couple Sues Tristar Over Pressure Cooker Burns
This isn’t the first time Tristar has come under fire over alleged defects in the Power Pressure Cooker XL. In fact, the company settled several of the earliest cases, paying injured home cooks undisclosed sums of financial compensation.
The first major pressure cooker lawsuit was filed on June 12, 2015, by a couple from Texas. In their federal complaint, Ninfa and Jose Vasquez say that, like many other consumers, they purchased Tristar’s pressure cooker after seeing the device in a TV commercial. After receiving the pressure cooker, Ninfa set out to prepare some pinto beans in her new machine. She could not have expected what happened next.
“Approximately two hours after unplugging the cooker,” the couple writes, “suddenly and without warning, the lid blew off of the cooker, and the pinto beans burst out of the cooker and onto Mrs. Vasquez, resulting in extensive and severe burns to her body.” The couple rushed to the hospital, according to court documents, where Ninfa spent 20 days being treated for her burns. She continues “to endure severe pain,” and will likely be scarred for life, the lawsuit continues.
The Vasquez’s lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Brownsville Division. It was logged as case number 1:15-cv-00108 and, while early court records suggest that Tristar was less than forthcoming with information, the company ultimately settled the case for an undisclosed amount.
Tristar Settles Florida Couple’s Case
On June 24, 2015, a couple from Sunny Isles, Florida filed the second lawsuit against Tristar Products, claiming the company’s Power Pressure Cooker XL exploded due to a product defect. While few details on this alleged defect have become public, records from the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida indicate that Tristar Products, along with Bed, Bath & Beyond, settled the Florida couple’s claim for an undisclosed amount.
Serg Tchernykh and his wife Lili Bekteva say they were at home preparing a meal in their pressure cooker when the machine suddenly blew up as Serg attempted to remove the lid. In their lawsuit, the couple blames the incident on a “malfunction” of the pressure cooker.
Severe Second-Degree Burns
Their case received media coverage from Miami’s CBS affiliate. In their story, Tchernyck and Bekteva described the severe injuries inflicted on Serg when their Power Pressure Cooker XL suddenly exploded: “He started to open it, and it blew out everything,” Bekteva told reporters. “[Serg] burned his arms completely, and when he removed clothes, shorts, his leg was also burned.” Serg suffered second-degree burns, extending from his elbow to his fingertips, while Lili sustained minor burns to her hands.
Reporters from CBS note that, while pressure cookers have been known to explode in the past, Tristar’s Power Pressure Cooker XL is a relatively new entry to the US market. Tristar only applied for a trademark in 2014, but “already,” reporter Gary Nelson writes, “complaints ranging from minor to scary have appeared on the web.” Tristar, however, appears unwilling to comment on the recent pressure cooker explosions. When pressed for a response, the company failed to answer the CBS affiliate’s messages.
Is There A Power Pressure Cooker XL Recall?
Not yet. At the moment, Tristar’s Power Pressure Cooker XL is still available for sale across the country. Neither Tristar nor the Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a recall for the product. Only time will tell whether the growing number of lawsuits will be able to change that.
Breaking Pressure Cooker Explosion News
By Laurence P. Banville, Esq.
Several people have already filed lawsuits against Tristar Products, after one of the company's pressure cookers suddenly exploded. Around the country, dozens of other home cooks have been severely burned when an apparently defective pressure cooker blew up during operation. As this litigation develops, you'll find the latest news and updates here.
September 22, 2016 – Tracking Pressure Cooker Sales Isn’t Answer To Terrorist Attacks, Experts Say
In the wake of a devastating bombing in Midtown Manhattan, some observers have suggested that security authorities begin tracking pressure cooker sales. Two of the bombs used in the Chelsea bombing on September 17, 2016 – along with the explosives in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings – were made with little more than a pressure cooker and cell phone.
Pressure cookers are appealing to would-be bombers, Popular Mechanics points out, because they’re easy to purchase, simple to customize – and dangerous from the start. But experts aren’t convinced that keeping track of pressure cooker sales is the right approach.
“What you’re looking for,” says James Lewis, “is a metal container that can be enclosed and locked down.” Lewis, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, doesn’t think tracking pressure cooker sales will do much good. Instead, security officials should be tracking people who may be planning terrorist attacks.
Reports Of Exploding Tristar Pressure Cookers
Government watchdog SaferProducts.gov has received numerous reports of exploding pressure cookers – most involve the Power Pressure Cooker XL. These accidents have left many consumers severely burned, requiring emergency medical attention and costly treatments.
To date, SaferProducts.gov has received twelve reports describing apparent malfunctions of the Power Pressure Cooker XL. Eleven of these reports say the machine exploded during operation.
June 1, 2017
A man who purchased his Power Pressure Cooker XL at a Walmart in Michigan says:
“My wife was cooking dinner using Tristar power pressure cooker xl. The product indicated it was done and all directions were followed to release pressure. While releasing [the] cover the contents exploded all over leaving my wife with second and third degree burns on her hands, arms, chest and stomach.”
The man’s wife, a 30-year-old, was treated for her injuries at an emergency department. The complaint includes two graphic pictures, showing severe burns on the woman’s hand.
May 24, 2017
A woman in Texas wrote:
“Pressure cooker malfunction resulting in injury. At approximately 5:50pm, I was cooking dinner in the Power Cooker Plus (Tristar) pressure cooker. I have used it many times and I am very familiar with pressure cooker usage. When the meal was done, I manually released the pressure using the valve. Believing the pressure to be fully released, I attempted to turn the lid.
The lid is advertised as a safety lid that should not turn if there is any pressure. However, the lid did turn and, as it did, the scalding hot contents of the pot erupted and shot out of the pressure cooker. I saw another consumer say this effect was similar to a volcanic eruption. That is the best description I can find. Food was everywhere and I was hit in the stomach with scalding hot fluid.
I was burned with blistering 2nd degree burns across my abdomen event through 2 layers of clothing. My burns are significant, as are the accompanying blisters, with incredible pain. At the very least, the safety lid malfunctioned. It turned and open[ed] easily, despite the fact that the contents were obviously under pressure. This is an unreasonably dangerous product.”
The woman, who was seen by a medical professional, says she purchased her pressure cooker at a Walmart.
November 2, 2016
A consumer from Arizona, who purchased their Power Pressure Cooker XL at Bed, Bath & Beyond, says:
“We were using a Tristar pressure cooker last night when 10 minutes in the cook time we heard a loud pop and a steaming sound. We went into the kitchen to see that it had popped its seal and was unlocked with steam coming out. We quickly unplugged it and turned the pressure release button. We didn’t open it until it was finished steaming and then open[ed] it. We didn’t use it again.”
Thankfully, no injuries were reported, but the owner mentions their child, a 9-year-old, who was in the room and could easily have been injured.
August 9, 2016
A 56-year-old woman writes:
“went to open the pressure cooker. Turned the valve to release the pressure and it did not release. Attempted to repeat this step with no change. Went to turn the lid and open the cooker. Pressure cooker contents burst and burned me.”
The woman says she was admitted to the hospital and intends to file a lawsuit against the pressure cooker’s manufacturer.
April 11, 2016
This report, submitted by the victim’s associate, reads:
“consumer was cooking pea soup in the Pressure Pot XL. Consumer walked into the room where the pea soup was cooking and pressure pot lid exploded all over the consumer.”
The report indicates that injuries were sustained, and the consumer was admitted to the emergency room.
April 7, 2016
The report reads:
“consumer was cooking with the pressure cooker, then released the pressure valve. Then later came to open it and the lid blew off and contents exploded all over consumer’s body. Product was supposed to stay locked until all pressure was released, which it did not.”
The consumer reportedly suffered injuries and was treated at a local emergency department.
February 29, 2016
A 39-year-old woman writes:
“I was preparing dinner for my family using the Power Pressure Cooker XL. I had selected the soup option and set the timer for 25 minutes. When the timer went off notifying me that the cooking was complete, I turned the pressure release valve allowing the pressure to escape. I let this action continue for over 15 minutes until the valve dropped and no other pressure released.
I then went to turn the lid to remove when the pressure from the cooker exploded causing hot scalding soup to erupt all over my kitchen and myself. I received second degree burns on my left hand and right breast. My doctor prescribed Silvadene to help with the healing process and deter infection, but I will be going for a check-up to ensure it is healing properly.”
After recovering from the incident, the consumer says she called Tristar, but was redirected between “four different ‘customer care specialists.’ ” Finally told to speak with a supervisor, the woman was kept on hold for more than twenty minutes, and then hung up on.
January 8, 2016
A consumer describes
“using a Tristar Products, Inc. [Power Pressure Cooker] for the first time,” when “the top of the cooker came off unexpectedly and the contents exploded out of the cooker.”
The incident resulted in injuries and hospital admission.
November 2, 2015
A mother from Michigan writes:
“on October 4 2015, the pressure cooker had a bad malfunction. The lid released when it was not supposed to. It was done cooking so I had opened the pressure release valve with the short releases before fully opening the valve. After I fully opened the valve, I went into the basement to finish my laundry. Then, when I came back up to see if all the pressure was released, [there] wasn’t any steam coming from the valve so I went to open the pressure cooker – and it exploded. My baby started screaming. I grabbed her and put her in the shower, then I looked at my arm and saw my skin coming off. Then I knew we had to go to the hospital.”
October 29, 2015
In a joint report, filed by a 33-year-old woman and her husband, consumers write:
“I purchased a Power Pressure Cooker that said it had a built in safety feature. I did as the instructions said as far as my first use. Cook[ed] some water for 15 min[utes]. After that, it was ready for use. I cooked some collard greens and after I released all the pressure, I turned the handle after a while and it exploded all over and my husband and I got burned. We had to go to the ER. I will never again in life recommend this product to anyone! It is not safe at all!!!”
The reporters write that they have contacted an attorney.
March 11, 2015
A 51-year-old woman from California writes:
“My ‘Power Pressure Cooker’ exploded with fire hot chicken soup in it, covering my entire kitchen, hitting me in the head with a piece of chicken and burning my arm. My 7-year-old child and his friend had just come through the kitchen not seconds before this happened. The explosion did damage to my walls and cabinets. Had anyone been standing closer to it, [the explosion] could have killed or seriously injured my family and my son’s friend.”
The reporter says she has contacted Tristar Products, in order to “warn them of their dangerous product and put them on notice for damages.”
October 22, 2014
A 74-year-old woman in Connecticut writes:
“The Power Cooker was used one time prior to this occasion, without incident. Yesterday it was used to cook a pork loin dinner, vegetables, etc. During the cooking process it appears some of the six listed built-in safety features didn’t work properly.
The cooker started the process as advertised, but about a half hour into the cooking time the lid blew off the cooker throwing its contents around on the kitchen wall, floor, stove, etc. After hearing the loud boom, I checked the cooker, saw the mess it created and that the lid was detached from the cooker, sitting upside down on the pot.
Also, the electric circuit the pot was plugged into […] had tripped, causing the wall plugs on the circuit to lose power. The pot was unplugged from the wall outlet, the ground fault reset and the wall plugs then worked fine, powering other appliances not in use at the time of this incident. This incident with the Power Cooker is a safety issue, product defect and [has been] returned.”
Can I File A Pressure Cooker Injury Claim?
Manufacturers have a duty to sell safe products – and warn consumers of reasonable risks in prominent notifications. Companies are responsible for ensuring that their products are free of defects that could cause users harm. As consumers, we’re owed that much. But when manufacturers fail to uphold their duty, innocent victims can suffer serious injuries, incurring exorbitant medical expenses and losing out on work.
If you or a loved one were injured when a Power Pressure Cooker XL unexpectedly exploded, our experienced attorneys want to hear about it. Legal action may be possible, and you could be entitled to significant financial compensation. To speak with a lawyer today, contact us today for a free legal consultation. You can learn more about your rights and options for no charge.
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