A two-year-old boy in Fresno, California made headlines after he was severely burned in an incident involving a Keurig home brewing machine. Self-proclaimed coffee lovers Nick and Amber Von Flue bought the MINI Plus Brewing System to make instant coffee and to make hot chocolate, their son Wyatt's favorite drink. The couple says a relative was in the middle of making the chocolate hot drink for Wyatt when the toddler reached for the scalding mug filled with hot water. It splashed onto his chest, causing severe burns, blisters and open sores. The water had been brewing at a temperature of 192 degrees. Thankfully, Wyatt is in stable condition and he's recovering from his injuries.
If a consumer is injured after using a product, he or she might be able to bring a claim against a party responsible for designing, manufacturing, or selling the products, depending on the circumstances of the case. Manufacturers must take the necessary steps to ensure that products are reasonably safe for their intended use. In this case, after much thought, The Von Flues have decided not to pursue a claim against Keurig. Their only concern is that the company improves the machine's design to avoid more injuries in the future.
“It's as simple as just putting a cover over the front of it to make it to where that's one less thing you have to worry about, Amber Von Flue said. “Maybe like a door or something that can be pulled down over it. Just one more extra precaution, one more step to get to it so it's not just an open cup.”
Unfortunately, Wyatt Von Flue was not the the only one who was harmed by the defective product. Keurig had received 200 complaints about liquid escaping and 90 complaints of burn injuries related to the brewer over the course of four years. Despite the complaints, Keurig continued to sell the item, and failed to notify the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) despite the overwhelming evidence that the brewer was defective. Keurig sold about 6.6 million units of the brewing machine in the United States and another 564,000 units in Canada.
Keurig's failure to report the overwhelming number of complaints is a violation of federal law that resulted in a hefty monetary penalty. When the CPSC caught wind of the manufacturer's failure to report the defect, they ordered that the company pay a fine of $5.8 million, and that it completely discontinue the sale and distribution of the MINI Plus Brewing Systems.
If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of using a consumer product, you may be eligible for compensation. Call the Olsen Law Firm at our Denver office at (303) 587-7297, or contact us online for a free consultation.