January 7, 2020, PLLR News | The American Association For Justice

January 7, 2020, PLLR News

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Defective design of stovetop percolator

photo of a percolator on a kitchen stove

Suit against the percolator’s manufacturer alleged that the product’s lid, internal stem, and grind basket were made of plastic that was susceptible to melting when the pot was heated without water. The plaintiff, who suffered burns on her hand, also alleged that the defendant should have warned consumers that the pot should be removed from the stove when not in use. The parties settled for $750,000. Polese v. Medelco, Inc.
 

Mary Polese, 69, kept her Medelco stovetop coffee percolator on the back burner of her kitchen range. Twenty minutes after inadvertently turning on the burner under the empty percolator, she lifted the pot off the burner and placed it on a cutting board. As she set the pot down, its internal polypropylene parts erupted and splashed onto her right hand, resulting in second- and third-degree burns to her right ring, middle, and small fingers. She underwent three surgeries, including debridement and skin grafting, and now has functional impairment in her hand that prevents her from enjoying her previous retirement activities, including artwork and calligraphy. Her medical expenses totaled $37,600.

Polese sued Medelco, Inc., alleging defective design in that the product’s lid, internal stem, and grind basket were made of plastic that was susceptible to melting when the pot was heated without water. Suit also alleged the defendant should have warned consumers that the pot should be removed from the stove when not in use.

The defense contended that the plaintiff should not have boiled the Medelco percolator when empty and that the plaintiff’s actions of removing the pot from the stove caused the plastic parts to become displaced.

The parties settled for $750,000.

Citation: Polese v. Medelco, Inc., No. BER-L-372-18 (N.J. Super. Ct. Bergen Cty. Dec. 16, 2019).

Plaintiff counsel: AAJ members Richard M. Jurewicz and Bradley Smith, both of Philadelphia.