Can You Join an Instant Pot Class Action Lawsuit?

Injury Lawyer Discusses Pressure Cooker Explosions

Video Transcript:

George McLaughlin:
It suddenly erupts out of the pot, and the superheated contents spew all over the person that would be standing there and they can get rather serious burns.

Rob Rosenthal:
Are you putting your family and yourself at risk by cooking with an Instant Pot? That's what we're going to Ask The Lawyer today, and we'll find out. Hi again everybody, I'm Rob Rosenthal with AskTheLawyers.com, and my guest is Denver attorney, George McLaughlin. George, thank you for making some time. Good to see you again.

George McLaughlin:
Thank you for having me.

Rob Rosenthal:
Let's talk just a little bit about your experience with Instant Pot and the injuries involved, you've been working with this for a little while, you are the sort of the go-to person in the country for go-to information.

George McLaughlin:
Well, I've had a few cases now that I filed, two cases against Instant Pot. One has resolved by a confidential settlement, the other one is still pending, but I want you to understand, it's not just the Instant Pot. There are several other electric pressure cookers that appear to be similar, just when you look at them on the shelf that are having similar problems with the lids being able to open while the contents are still under pressure.

Rob Rosenthal:
And so talk about what sort of injuries are involved, as I can imagine it could be pretty bad.

George McLaughlin:
Well, yes, when a pressure cooker is heating its contents under pressure, the contents get above what would be the temperature for boiling if they weren't in a sealed container. If you have that container open while the contents are hotter than what boils at normal atmosphere, it suddenly erupts out of the pot, and the super heated contents spew all over the person that would be standing there, and they can get rather serious burns.

Rob Rosenthal:
So when you look online, George, one of the things, 'cause people online know everything, one of the things they say: "Oh, they just need to be more careful," or "they must not be using it right." What's your answer to that?

George McLaughlin:
Well, at least with the Instant Pot, the product I'm most familiar with, they were making statements that the product cannot be open when it's under pressure, that it had numerous safety features that prevented that from happening, so even if there were to be a consumer mistake where they thought it was not under pressure and it was, they ought not to be able to open it. And by the Underwriters Laboratory Standards, one of the industry, independent entities that certifies the safety of consumer products in the United States, you ought not to be able to open any pressurized pressure cooker while it is under pressure without an extreme amount of force. It just shouldn't happen.

Rob Rosenthal:
And is there an issue or have you found an issue with a safety valve? What is that problem?

George McLaughlin:
So it seems to be there's something with the safety interlock with the lid, there's a little pin here that interfaces with the vessel, the heating vessel itself, that when this thing is under pressure, it ought not to be able to be twisted and opened and yet from consumer reports, not just my clients, other people I've read about and make complaints on the Internet, these things happen not just with the Instant Pot but with other pressure cookers, and there are many pressure cookers that seem to have a similar design. Most of these are made by various Chinese manufacturers that all seem to use the same kind of design.

Rob Rosenthal:
Now, I know you've mentioned you've had a couple of individual cases, is there a movement for a class action lawsuit and how do people get involved? How do they know if they have a case?

George McLaughlin:
There has been a class action lawsuit that was successful against a company that made a product, I believe the company's name is TriStar. It was a similar design, not the exact same design, it was not the Instant Pot. There's right now a class action pending in Florida against Sunbeam for pressure cooker that they make, and there hasn't been a class action against the Instant Pot, but I seriously question if there should be because of what I learned in the case that I have now concluded and the other cases that I'm aware of. I really question if there is a design issue that could be the subject of a class action. I'm interested in talking to people that have an Instant Pot that was made in the year 2016 or earlier 15, 14, whatever to see if they may be interested in talking with me and potentially being what's called a class representative. And the way you find out what year your product is made: on the back of these products, there's a label here, it has a four-digit code on the products made 2016 and earlier, it begins with a 16 followed by two other numbers, 1615 something like that, and also on the bottom, there's a serial number, and if the serial number begins with a 16, then that tells you that this product was finished its manufacturing process in the year 2016 or earlier, if it has a lower number.

Rob Rosenthal:
So does someone have to have been burned, have been injured or badly injured in order to join the class action?

George McLaughlin:
No, in fact, I'd rather have people that were not injured because if you are injured, you have a different kind of a claim, you have a personal injury claim, where if you have a product that is potentially defective but you haven't been injured, well, there's the potential that you could be injured down the road. We're seeing people injured with these products months, even years after they purchased them, whether it's the Instant Pot or any other product. And so if you're sitting on one that has a defect and you don't know it, your claim is: you want the fix if there is one, or you want your money back if it's defective and cannot be fixed. And that's what I'm looking into. Is there a potential class action to be brought against Instant Pot or any of the other manufacturers that are out there that have yet to be the subject of a class action related to a lid opening defect claim?

Rob Rosenthal:
Lots of great information, as usual, George. Thank you for making some time answering our questions again.

George McLaughlin:
Sure, if anybody wants to talk to me, I'd be happy to speak with them. They can reach me via the internet by telephone.

Absolutely, thank you for making some time to answer our questions and we appreciate it. It's always good to talk to you. Thank you.

Alright, if you want the best information or you are ready to choose a lawyer that lawyers choose, make sure to go to AskTheLawyers.com, also please take a sec to subscribe by clicking the button below. Thanks for watching, everybody. I'm Rob Rosenthal with AskThe Lawyers.

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