In November 2018, a Broward County circuit court sided against the manufacturer of the pressure cooker, finding that its failure and subsequent explosion could have been prevented and caused severe burns and amputation of Samantha Gonzales’ leg, hip, foot, and fingers.
Founding partner John. J. Uustal represented the plaintiff. Beyond the record settlement amount in a defective pressure cooker case, Uustal noted the exceptional outcome for Samantha seemed initially impossible as police, fire department, and engineering experts as well as the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission found there was no defect in the product – several lawyers declined the case and it seemed a tragedy without remedy for Samantha and a lifetime of unfunded medical needs.
However, Uustal and his investigative team uncovered a slight variation in the size of a key safety piece of the locking mechanism, repeatedly missed by the authorities; And, a possibility that defendant company, Lifetime Brands, had known of the defect for years and failed to issue a recall or report the deadly threat to consumers. Uustal’s team believing the company continued producing possibly 100,000 units over three years rather then simply modifying the defective design and continuing about their business ignoring the potentially lethal consequences to unknowing customers.