At least eight people have filed exploding cooking spray can lawsuits in an Illinois court for serious injuries they sustained in the kitchen, including cases involving severe burns and disfigurement.
Six Illinois Exploding Cooking Spray Can Lawsuits
Six lawsuits were filed on behalf of eight injured plaintiffs in the Circuit Court of Cook County on May 7, 2019. (A similar lawsuit had been filed in a New York federal court by a different law firm the previous day.) The plaintiffs – who reside in Illinois, Texas, New York, Utah, and Indiana – each allege to have been severely injured by an exploding cooking spray can manufactured by Chicago-based packaged foods giant Conagra. Most cases involve the company’s popular Pam Cooking Spray, which is used in 95 percent of US households, though other incidents involved similar Conagra products, including Wellsley Farms and Sysco cooking sprays.
The lawsuits allege that Conagra’s cooking spray cans were defective, especially when kept close to kitchen heat sources such as grills and stoves, where this food product is most likely to be used. They also charge that Conagra failed to warn consumers adequately of the risk of exploding cooking spray can incidents.
Plaintiffs Suffered Burns, Disfigurement
The plaintiffs, who each suffered severe burns or disfigurement from an exploding cooking spray can, include the following:
- A woman who was burned and blinded in one eye when a can of Pam Cooking Spray exploded on a rolling utility cart adjacent to the oven where she was placing a dish in her Greenville, TX home on July 15, 2017;
- A Houston restaurant cook who was burned when a Sysco Cooking Spray can exploded as he was moving it on a shelf near the grill top on July 16, 2017;
- A man and a woman who were burned in a Mount Carmel home when a can of Pam Cooking Spray exploded on a counter beside the stove on May 19, 2018;
- A man and a woman in Provo, UT who were burned when a Pam Cooking Spray can blew up on a shelf above a kitchen stove on Nov. 6, 2018;
- A man who was burned by an exploding can of Pam Cooking Spray in his Indianapolis home on March 6, 2019; and
- A woman whose can of Wellsley Farms Cooking Spray exploded on a counter near the stove as she was boiling water in her Staten Island home on April 5, 2019.
In response to the lawsuits, a Conagra spokesman issued a statement insisting that “When Pam is used correctly, as instructed, it is a 100% safe and effective product.”
He also said that all Pam Cooking Sprays include clear instructions on both the front and back of the product warning that it should be used responsibly due to its flammability and that it should not be left on a stove or near a heat source, sprayed near an open flame, or stored at temperatures exceeding 120°F.
“Vented” Cans Explode at Lower Temperatures
The injured plaintiffs’ attorney argues that Conagra’s claims about the general safety of its products do not apply because the lawsuits are targeting a specific type of can with U-shaped vents at the bottom. These “vented” cans, introduced by Conagra as a cost-saving measure, are typically found in containers of ten ounces or more and sold in packs of two at wholesale retail stores.
According to the suits, the cans were capable of venting at temperatures lower than Conagra’s standards allow and violate government regulations for aerosol cans. They also claim negligence on the part of Conagra because the product “was designed and advertised to be used around stoves/grills and had no adequate warnings about possible dangers of doing so.”
“No one knows what the heck ‘near’ [a heat source] means,” the plaintiffs’ attorney said when discussing the inadequacy of Conagra’s warnings.
Cans No Longer Produced – But Still on the Market
Conagra removed the vented can from active production earlier this year, three years after first introducing it, though the company has not issued a recall for the ones that are already on the market. The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said it is aware of the lawsuits and is currently investigating the matter.
The attorney who filed the recent lawsuits finds this response inadequate. He plans to file a complaint with the CPSC and is demanding a recall of the existing vented cans to avoid similar exploding cooking spray can incidents in the future.
“Perhaps more alarming is the fact that, to this day, Conagra apparently refuses to institute a nationwide recall to ensure that the defective cans sitting on store shelves right now are removed before someone else suffers permanent injury from an explosion,” the plaintiffs’ attorney said. “Each day that these cans remain on store shelves, Conagra’s negligence puts consumers in danger.”
Illinois Personal Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by an exploding cooking spray can, contact the Illinois personal injury attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers.
With over $2 billion recovered for our clients and over 40 years in in the business, GWC is one of the premier Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firms in Illinois.