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Product liability suit filed for defective coffee makers

Posted on July 3, 2015 in Products Liability

Millions of Californians wake up every morning to a cup (or two) of coffee. Very few imagine that they could be burnt or seriously injured by their coffee pot, but it’s happened thousands of times for owners of one model of Black & Decker coffee makers. Enough is enough, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Department of Justice, which have filed a joint complaint against the parent company, Spectrum Brands Inc., for knowingly selling a defective product and not working to resolve the issue in a timely manner.

The product liability suit involves the SpaceMaker coffee pots, which have a handle that suddenly detaches, resulting in numerous injuries. Black & Decker received approximately 1,600 complaints between 2009 and 2012, before the company finally recalled the product.

Companies are required to report defective products to the CPSC immediately, but it appears as though Black & Decker and Applica Consumer Products, a former subsidiary, may have waited several years before reporting the incidents. This allowed the companies to continue to make profits while putting the lives of consumers at risk in the meantime. Not only that, but the companies violated federal law by continuing to sell the defective coffeemakers to retailers after the June 2012 recall.

Defects typically occur during the manufacturing process. While some defects are cosmetic in nature and cause no injuries, others are unsafe products with major flaws that cause serious injuries or in some cases, even death. When this happens, consumers have the right to file a lawsuit and recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, disfigurement and other damages caused by the company’s negligence.


Source: The United States Department of Justice, “United States Files Suit against Spectrum Brands for Failing to Report Safety Hazard in Defective Coffeemakers,” June 17, 2015