Pam Cooking Spray Explosions Prompt String of Lawsuits

The well-known Pam cooking spray present in kitchens throughout the country is the focus of a new string of lawsuits. According to records from the Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago, eight victims are suing Conagra, the manufacturer of Pam and other cooking sprays, over claims the cans exploded and caused severe burn injuries and disfigurement.

The lawsuits claim Conagra defectively designed and manufactured the spray cans, and that those defects made them unreasonably dangerous when used close to a heat source, such as a stovetop gas range or grill. The suits further claim Conagra failed to warn consumers of the potential dangers associated with its products.

Conagra, based in Chicago where the suits were filed Tuesday May 7, 2019, issued a statement saying Pam Cooking Spray is “100%” safe when used as instructed. It added that the can design implicated in the lawsuits is no longer in production.

Victims behind the first lawsuits include:

  • A New York woman injured after a can of Wellsley Farms Cooking spray exploded on a counter near a stove being used to boil water;
  • An Indianapolis woman who suffered burn injuries caused by a can of exploding Pam Cooking Spray;
  • Two victims from Utah burned by an exploding Pam can which had be placed on a wall shelf above a stove;
  • Two victims from Illinois injured by a Pam Cooking Spray can that exploded on a counter beside a kitchen stove;
  • A Houston restaurant chef burned by a Sysco Cooking Spray can that exploded near a grill top;
  • A Texas woman burned and blinded in one eye after a Pam Cooking Spray can on a wooden utility cart near the stove exploded.

Claimants allege Conagra’s newly designed spray cans were intended to have u-shaped vents on the canister’s bottom open when the can buckled from heat, allowing the can’s contents to escape and lowering internal pressure. Instead, the suits say, the design made spray cans more likely to combust at lower temperatures. The new design, implemented in 2011, was created to cut costs, victims further allege, as they were primarily sold at wholesale retailers.

Conagra has not recalled cooking spray cans, and has maintained they are safe for use.

Product Liability Claims: Recovering Compensation for Consumer Injuries

The new lawsuits are receiving considerable attention, and are raising important questions as to the safety of consumers who currently have cans with the newer design in their homes and kitchens. Like other civil product liability lawsuits, the claims can help unearth what Conagra knew or should have known about the design of its cans and the potential risks for its consumers, and will determine whether the company should be held liable for victims’ damages.

At Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP, our Cleveland attorneys have helped victims injured by unsafe drugs and consumer products navigate the legal pathways for recovering their damages. Personal injury or wrongful death claims involving defective products introduce unique and challenging questions of law, and require victims to provide how products in questions were defectively designed (i.e. dangerous from inception), defectively manufactured (such as from use of poor quality materials), and / or improperly labeled with inadequate warnings.

Because product liability cases are complex, and because they require extensive investigation, working with experienced attorneys equipped with the necessary resources, professional connections, and skill to take on major product manufacturers becomes critical. Call (216) 600-0114 or contact our team if you have questions about a possible defective product and a civil injury lawsuit.

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