Court Rejects Arizona AG Challenge To Settlement Over Pressure Cookers

By Holliday Moore
Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Monday, October 14, 2019 - 9:26am
Updated: Monday, October 14, 2019 - 9:27am
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
Mark Brnovich at KJZZ in August 2019.

A federal appeals court has rejected Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s challenge to a class-action settlement over pressure cookers.

The three judges ignored Brnovich’s claim that the nationwide settlement does more for the attorneys, than the consumers who were reportedly injured by the product.

The court found Brnovich’s argument legally irrelevant, after a settlement’s been offered.

However, the challenge goes beyond the kitchen device to target attorneys who make the lion’s share in consumer fraud cases.

"What we did here is the same as we do in innumerable consumer protection cases every day out of our office,” said Assistant Attorney General O.H. Skinner.

If left undisturbed, he said it could undermine attorney generals from interceding in other class-action consumer fraud cases where it appears the attorneys are rewarded, but the consumers are not.

“We think that protecting consumers from class-action settlements where they don't get any money is a core part of protecting consumers,” Skinner complained.

The class-action case from 2016 was settled between Tristar Products and more than 3 million people who purchased the pressure cooker nationwide.

Court records show consumers who bothered to collect on the settlement received coupons and warranty extensions, while the attorneys collected $2 million in legal fees.

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