Suit alleges faulty pressure cooker burned mother, daughter

By Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau | Sep 4, 2008

TEXARKANA, Ark. – An Arkansas woman claims that burns she and her daughter sustained were the result of a defective pressure cooker and have sued the product's maker

According to court papers, Amesiah Thomas spent more than an hour preparing food in an Ultrex 8-quart pressure cooker. Thomas claims she removed the cooker from the stove and left it until the pressure indicator showed the cooker to be at normal position.

However, the woman claims that when she began to open the pressure cooker lid, the top portion separated from the bottom portion, causing steam, hot water and food to spray her and her daughter. As a result of the incident, Thomas and her daughter claim they sustained burn injuries.

Alleging defective design, Thomas, individually and as next friend of Amoyia Gentry, filed suit against Innova Inc. on Aug. 29, in the Texarkana Division of the Western District of Arkansas.

Thomas states she acquired the cooker model 42018K prior to Jan. 1, 2006, but that it was defectively designed and manufactured at the time she received it.

On Nov. 30, 2006, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that the Home Shopping Network was recalling around 1,500 units of the Ultrex pressure cookers with model No. 11453. HSN had received reports of two incidents in which users and bystanders were injured when the cookers' top came open.

The suit alleges strict product liability and breach of warranty, by arguing that a safer alternative design would have prohibited the incident from occurring.

"The pressure cooker was defective and unreasonably dangerous as manufactured in that it separated under pressure when the pressure indicator showed that it was safe to open the pressure cooker," the court records state.

Thomas accuses Innovia of being negligent for failing to properly design or manufacture the cooker, failing to incorporate a safer design, and for placing the cooker on the market without warning or adequately warning the user of the product that it might be under pressure when the indicator had returned to a safe position.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for physical pain, suffering, mental anguish, medical expenses, physical scarring, disfigurement, loss in wages and loss of earning capacity.

Jury trial is demanded.

Attorney W. David Carter of the Texarkana law firm Mercy Carter Tidwell LLP and Texarkana attorney Matthew Golden are representing the plaintiff in her allegations.

U.S. District Judge Harry F. Barnes will preside over the litigation.

Case No 4:2008cv04076

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