Espresso Machine Recalled: Not a Whole Latte Love

In a prior post, I extolled the virtues of coffee, both as a close companion and a healthy dietary component. Another friend—a human of the non-coffee-drinking genus – recently won an espresso machine, and she gave it to my wife. The device now sits prominently on our kitchen counter looking rather judgmentally at the every-day coffee maker. I imagine that the two trade sardonic barbs when alone, each deriding the other for her seemingly limited functionality: the age-old “I’m for special occasions” vs. “I’m for daily use” controversy. I love the newborn as much as I do her older sibling because each makes my family happy in her own way. Neither seems particularly reassured by my reassurances.

Now, my firm handles products liability cases, many of which involve defective household appliances (juicers, blenders, microwaves, etc.) But I don’t quite know what we would do if presented with an allegedly hazardous coffee machine (espresso or regular). Skeptical as I am that anything that delivers such a wonderful elixir could meet the legal definition of a “defective product,” it would probably be easier for me to defend rather than to prosecute the seller.

Take the PREMIUM® espresso maker, for example.  Recently, the Precision Trading Corporation of Miami, Florida, received a report that a consumer sustained burns to her arm when the cap unexpectedly released steam from the espresso maker.  Whether the machine is a defective product or not may be determined through litigation.  But in the meantime, the company recalled some 4,700 units noting that: 1) the filler cap at the top can crack and allow steam to escape, posing a risk of burns to the user; and 2) the cap can pop off unexpectedly as a result of pressure buildup, posing a risk of injury to a bystander. The recall involves the four-cup model (number PEM585 and product date code “0914” or “1114”), that was manufactured in China in September 2014 and November 2014 and sold between November 2014 and February 2015. The Premium logo is printed on the bottom front of the espresso maker. Espresso makers with “2015” marked on the cap are not included in this recall.  The company has encouraged consumers to visit its website at www.premiumus.com and click on Recall Information for more information.

When I get home tonight, I will check the label on my espresso machine.  I’m hoping it’s not a Premium machine, just in case it is a defective product.  Not for safety sake, mind you.  I just don’t want to give the daily machine something else to crow about.