LOS ANGELES, CA (FOX 11) – WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT:
FOX 11 has exclusively obtained test videos that Nutribullet turned over in a lawsuit, which show the device exploding under different sets of circumstances, and new alleged victims are coming forward to FOX 11, claiming they were severely injured when their Nutribullet ruptured.
Attorneys for Nutribullet went to court last week to try to stop further release of the video, and requested that FOX 11 not air the video.
This comes nearly six months after FOX 11 first investigated allegations of exploding Nutribullets last fall. The story received more than six million views on FOX 11’s Facebook page, and was picked up by media outlets around the country.
At the time, NutriBullet was being sued by at least 14 people who claimed NutriBullet exploded during regular use, leaving them with severe cuts or burns.
NutriBullet responded to FOX 11’s report by saying customer misuse of the product was likely to blame for any incidents, they denied responsibility for any injuries, and filed motions in court to contest the allegations on the grounds they are irrelevant, and improper.
“Since the story ran the first time, we started getting an avalanche of phone calls,” said Boris Treyzon, an attorney with the legal firm Abir, Cohen, Treyzon, Salo LLP.
“We have a lot of clients,” said attorney Doug Rochen, of the same law firm. Rochen and Treyzon’s firm represent the 14 plaintiffs in FOX 11’s previous story, and their firm is now retained for 86 pending claims against NutriBullet, with all of their clients alleging they suffered severe injuries while using the device.
“People were coming out of every state in the country, calling saying they’ve been injured by this machine,” Treyzon said.
And now, only FOX 11 has obtained test videos produced by NutriBullet from 2017. They were filmed by the company’s manufacturers in China after they started facing legal action.
The videos come from a lawsuit filed against NutriBullet two years ago by a woman named Laura Lambros.
The lawsuit alleges that in May of 2014, Lambros was using a NutriBullet to mix lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and cayenne pepper when the cup popped off the base, causing her pinky and ring finger to be caught in the blades, breaking bone, and cutting her fingers and palms severely.
The videos were produced by NutriBullet’s defense attorneys during discovery, and now FOX 11 is revealing them to the public for the very first time.
In one test video, pressure is artificially added to a NutriBullet blending water, and after approximately two minutes and a pressure of 50 PSI, it explodes, according to NutriBullet.
In another test, a NutriBullet is shown blending water for ten minutes and nineteen seconds before it explodes.
A third video with no sound shows a NutriBullet bursting after blending water for an unknown amount of time.
“Those tests show without any doubt that these machines explode,” Treyzon said.
“It doesn’t matter the timeframe,” Rochen said. “It should never happen.”
Rochen contends that the time needed for a NutriBullet to burst depends on the age of the device, and the contents being blended.
“The quicker it heats up, the more pressure that builds, the more pressure that builds, the hotter it gets, and they go back and forth, back and forth, until it explodes,” he said. “these blenders could blow up in a matter of seconds to as much as ten minutes.”
And one of Rochen’s clients says, he can attest to that.
“It seemed like a grenade went off in my house,” said Michael Mori.
Mori is suing NutriBullet after he says his NutriBullet exploded last December while making a mixture of oatmeal, milk, honey crystal, and green tea.
“I was blending for about 20 seconds and then it started spinning faster than usual so I went to go check on it, and when I moved my hand to go check on it, it exploded and gave me lacerations all over my hand,” Mori said.
Graphic photos show the extent of Mori’s injuries.
“You could see the tendons and the bones from the cuts,” he said.
According to his lawsuit, his left hand landed on the still spinning blades, causing severe, deep lacerations, which required emergency medical treatment, 33 stitches, and resulted in nerve damage.
“Right here, there’s a lot of scar tissue so when I bend my finger, it actually pinches a nerve right here and then shoots pain all the way up my wrist,” he said.
Mori showed FOX 11 evidence of the explosion still on his kitchen ceiling, a splattered mixture of blood and the contents that were in the NutriBullet, and he’s not the only new plaintiff.
“I was like how the hell did this blow up, what the hell?” said Pam Richardson. Richardson is a 14 year Army veteran who served overseas.
“Combat is well organized chaos, when that NutriBullet went off, it brought me right back to a place I was hoping to forget,” she said.
According to her lawsuit against NutriBullet, in September 2016, she used a NutriBullet to blend lemonade, pomegranate juice, and pomegranate seeds for approximately thirty to forty seconds. When she disengaged the canister from the base, the lawsuit alleges that it detached from the blade assembly and both pieces shot off the base towards her face.
“I mean it literally just shot and you could hear it just like a gunshot, it had recoil and everything and it just shot me straight up in the face,” Richardson said. “This part hit here and all my teeth in the front were broken.”
The lawsuit claims Richardson was diagnosed with multiple fractured teeth, and that she continues to suffer from severe dental problems as a result.
“If you use it, use a helmet,” she said.
NutriBullet maintains that it is physically impossible for the NutriBullet to generate enough heat to explode in under one minute of use, and they maintain the product has clear warnings throughout their instruction manuals, which state that customers should not blend hot liquids, shouldn’t leave the device unattended, and should never exceed the maximum one minute blending time.
Mori and Richardson said they followed all those guidelines, and still paid a painful price.
“I don’t understand why these things are still on the market,” Mori said. “For what you need, the purpose of making juices and stuff, it does great,” Richardson said. “But if I was you, I would duck when you get ready to do anything as far as taking it off.”
Even if a company makes mistakes, it should take responsibility for its mistakes,” Treyzon said. “At the end of the day, everything is going to come to light.”
In response to the new allegations, NutriBullet released the following statement to FOX 11:
“Every day, millions of NutriBullet customers blend nutritious smoothies from fruits, vegetables and nuts in NutriBullets. NutriBullets are safe and present no issue if used as directed and operated only as long as necessary to prepare a smoothie, which is generally less than one minute.
NutriBullet is dedicated to the safety of its customers, and investigates allegations of injuries involving its products. Unlike the plaintiffs’ attorneys in these cases, however, NutriBullet is bound by the laws of physics.
As plaintiffs’ attorneys are well aware, numerous tests, including those already performed by their own experts, establish that NutriBullets cannot “hyper-heat” room temperature ingredients and rupture in a short period of time. In fact, experts for the plaintiffs’ lawyers have testified under oath that a separation of the NutriBullet blade and cup assemblies due to a build-up of heat and pressure could only occur after 10-20 minutes of continuous use.”