TAMPA (FOX 13) - A popular blender is facing accusations that it can explode, severely injuring customers. Those claims include an Army reservist at MacDill Air Force Base whose case could become the first to go to trial, her attorney said Thursday.
In her lawsuit against Nutribullet, Phyllis Cerrato says she bought her blender in 2014 and, the first time she used it to make a smoothie, it exploded -- spraying her with scalding hot liquid.
"I'm in the military, so I felt like it was a bomb going off, like an IED or something, just sprayed my face. So it was scary," she said. "I'm hoping that they do something about the product itself so nobody don't have to through the injuries that I went through."
All of her allegations are laid out in court documents filed in Cerrato's case. And she's not alone; other users have claimed the exploding device left them with burns or gashes from the blade.
Cerrato told FOX 13 she was left with second-degree burns and is still healing nearly three years later.
"I feel like it was something that was going to make our family more wholesome and more healthy," she said. "But it took a lot away from me, my livelihood of life and enjoying myself."
Michael Laurato, Cerrato's attorney, said he hopes to prove the product's design is flawed. The lawsuit claims there is no pressure release valve and an automatic shut-off doesn't work properly.
"A blending device without any kind of pressure release, this type of thing is going to happen," Laurato said. "When the case comes into the office, you say 'how can something like this happen?'"
Nutribullet maintains the product is safe when used as recommended. In response to similar claims, the company's attorney has said, "customer misuse of the Nutribullet is likely the explanation for any incidents of the devices bursting."
In a statement to FOX 13, Mark Suzumoto, a NutriBullet Corporate Attorney, wrote:
"Customer safety and satisfaction are paramount at NutriBullet. Reports of blenders, which have operated normally for years, suddenly turning cool ingredients into scalding hot mixtures after less than 20 seconds of normal operation or components unthreading during use, are perplexing and contrary to the hundreds of millions of uses by satisfied NutriBullet customers worldwide. We will investigate the claims thoroughly and analyze the blenders in question to determine exactly what happened. Whatever the circumstances surrounding these accidents, we wish prompt and complete recoveries to those involved."
Laurato said he expects Cerrato's case to go to trial in federal court in January.