On December 23, 2014, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the recall of more than 7 million Keurig coffee makers. The MINI Plus Brewing System can overheat water during the brewing cycle and spray out, presenting a significant burn hazard.
The company, based in Massachusetts, has received around 200 reports of scalding liquid escaping from its machine. Approximately 90 consumers have suffered burns as a result of the defect. Keurig has yet to announce when it first became aware of the problem, but the machines involved have been sold since 2009.
Is My Keurig Affected By The Recall?
The recall affects only MINI Plus Brewing Systems with model number K10. On the bottom of your machine, you’ll find a white sticker with a serial number. Numbers beginning in “31” may be affected. If your serial number is between:
- 31.0000.0000001 and 31.0000.0250560
- 31.0001.0000001 and 31.0001.0010328
- 31.0002.0000001 and 31.0002.0081312
- 31.0003.0000001 and 31.0003.0010328
- 31.0004.0000001 and 31.0004.0263772
- 31.0014.0000001 and 31.0014.0001250
- 31.0015.0000001 and 31.0015.0001250
- 31.1000.0000001 and 31.1000.0015984
- 31.1002.0000001 and 31.1002.0002664
- 31.2000.0000001 and 31.2000.1977238
- 31.2001.0000001 and 31.2001.0174310
- 31.2002.0000001 and 31.2002.0745280
- 31.2003.0000001 and 31.2003.0055668
- 31.2004.0000001 and 31.2004.1156585
- 31.2015.0000001 and 31.2015.0081287
- 31.2017.0000001 and 31.2017.0047310
- 31.2019.0000001 and 31.2019.0117035
- 31.2020.0000001 and 31.2020.0019028
- 31.2021.0000001 and 31.2021.0076016
- 31.2022.0000001 and 31.2022.0022444
- 31.2030.0000001 and 31.2030.0032028
- 31.2031.0000001 and 31.2031.0042714
- 31.2033.0000001 and 31.2033.0018685
- 31.2034.0000001 and 31.2034.0016074
- 31.2035.0000001 and 31.2035.0013366
- 31.3000.0000340 and 31.3000.1524059
- 31.3001.0000001 and 31.3001.0021252
- 31.3002.0000001 and 31.3002.0510030
- 31.3004.0000001 and 31.3004.0016532
it has been recalled. Keurig has asked consumers to contact the company for a free repair kit which will solve the problem.
Was Keurig Negligent?
That’s still unclear. Keurig has adamantly insisted that its recall is voluntary, and not compelled by the CPSC. But admitting one’s own mistake does not absolve a company from responsibility. And the fact that the company’s MINI Plus machine has been on the market since 2009 raises a few questions. Was Keurig aware of the defect long before announcing the recall? The CPSC has stated that it will conduct an investigation, and determine whether the company waited too long to inform the public.
If so, Keurig may be open to significant liability through the common legal theory of “failure to warn.” Under this doctrine, companies that produce consumer goods are required to actively alert purchasers to any non-obvious dangers, even if those risks become apparent after the products have been released into the market.
But the question of negligence may not matter at all. In most states, consumer goods are covered by a theory of “strict liability.” Manufacturers can be held responsible for their products’ defects, whether or not negligence led to the problem. In many cases, proving that a product malfunctioned and presented unforeseeable risks is sufficient for a viable lawsuit. Injured victims are urged to discuss their situation with an experienced New York product liability lawyer immediately.
Keurig reports that its product’s defect is more likely to cause injury when more than two drinks are made in quick succession. Unlike traditional home coffee machines, a Keurig brews only one cup at a time, preserving the beverage’s consistency and quality. The small, self-contained devices are loaded with cartridges of grounds, called “K-Cups,” heat water internally, and then force the liquid through tea or coffee to produce an individual beverage.