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An exploding toilet lawsuit seeks to flush out at least $5 million from the makers of the Flushmate III, an allegedly defective product that's caused more than a dozen injuries.
Among the worst of the reported injuries, a 26-year-old man claims he was sitting on his toilet when it unexpectedly exploded.
"I required dozens of stitches for an extremely deep wound because of the exploding porcelain," the man reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The report, posted online, includes pictures of his injury.
That alleged victim may soon be able to join an exploding toilet lawsuit that seeks nationwide class-action status.
A California law firm filed the federal lawsuit in August on behalf of a social-services organization and a Las Vegas woman whose toilets allegedly "failed and leaked," according to the complaint obtained by Courthouse News Service.
Neither of those "failed" toilets caused physical injury, however.
The toilets were among more than 2.3 million that harbor the Flushmate III, a device that uses air and water pressure to ensure a powerful flush. More than 300 Flushmate units have burst, causing at least 14 "impact and laceration" injuries, according to the CPSC.
The CPSC issued a voluntary Flushmate recall in June. Sloan Valve Company, which makes the Flushmate, offered to send customers a free repair kit in the mail.
But that repair kit is not adequate, forcing consumers to pay for repairs on their own, the Flushmate lawsuit asserts. The suit seeks restitution to cover Flushmate users' out-of-pocket repair costs, along with flooding and other property damage that exploding toilets may have caused.
To become a class action, a court must find that a group of people suffered the same or similar injuries caused by the same product or action. The Flushmate suit appears to fit those requirements.
After a case is certified as a class action, all potential members of the class -- in this case, everyone with a Flushmate device in their toilet -- must be notified about the lawsuit.
But as the Flushmate exploding toilet lawsuit appears to focus more on minor repairs, the 14 victims who suffered physical laceration injuries may want to consider opting out of the class if possible. By filing their own lawsuits, they could potentially receive a larger payout. An experienced products liability lawyer will be able to advise them on the best way to proceed.