December 19, 2018 — A $27 million settlement has been awarded to the family of a 2-year-old girl who was severely burned by a pressure cooker that exploded.
The girl, Samantha Gonzalez, was being bathed in the sink by her disabled grandmother when the pressure cooker exploded on the stovetop in September 2014.
Gonzalez suffered 2nd- and 3rd-degree burns over 60% of her body. In the hospital, she developed a fungal infection and sepsis. As a result, doctors had to amputate her leg, hip, and all of her fingers.
The settlement will go toward paying for her ongoing medical care, plastic surgery, and prosthetics.
The lawsuit was filed against Lifestyle Brands, the manufacturer of Vasconia® 8-quart pressure cooker, accusing the company of selling a defective product and failing to issue a recall.
When attorneys looked at the evidence, they concluded that the lid of the pressure cooker must have opened while it was still pressurized.
Furthermore, they determined that the pressure cooker had the wrong size internal lock-bar, so the lock on the lid did not actually work, and the lid could twist and open while the cooker was still under pressure.
The manufacturer sold the defective pressure cooker for 3 years before quietly fixing the problem on newer models. The older models were never recalled. The manufacturer did not report the upgrades to the Consumer Product Safety Commission until July 2018.
The lawsuit was filed in the Circuit Court of the 17th Judicial Circuit in and for Broward County, Florida — Case No. 16-016685 — In RE: S. E.G. minor by and through her parents v. Lifetime Brands Inc..
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