Product Defect Causes Microwave to Spontaneously Turn on


This case involves injuries to a plaintiff due to an allegedly defective microwave. The plaintiff, a fifty-three-year-old male, was cooking a meal. He had a four burner stove, and, above it, a combination microwave/hood. While cooking, the fan in the hood was blowing. The plaintiff began preparing additional ingredients, but while he was cooking, the microwave turned on, spontaneously. It continued running and eventually caused a fire. The plaintiff rushed to turn off the burners and tried to extinguish the flames by the microwave. He ended up with second-degree burns on both of his arms and required extensive treatment.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. What kind of quality control standards must appliance manufactures go through to bring a product to market and are you aware of instances where product/design failure has been the source of fires in microwaves?

Expert Witness Response E-006432

I am familiar with microwaves and the quality control standards the appliance manufacturers must go through to bring a product to market. In most cases, a product has to go through extensive testing, simulating a series of conditions, before it can be sold. Given the facts of this case, it is troubling that the microwave started spontaneously. This is extremely dangerous, as it can cause a number of hazards including leaked radiation and fires. This issue has been reported in some models, and it is usually symptomatic of a defect. By reviewing the specifics of this case, the exact model and different circumstances, I can describe the elements of the defect.

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