Lawsuit: Defective Plug, Draining System Turned Walk-In Jacuzzi Into Death Trap

Example of a Jacuzzi walk-in tub, which is not necessarily the same model as the one in this story.

Example of a Jacuzzi walk-in tub, which is not necessarily the same model as the one in this story.

Many people seeking relief from aches and pains use walk-in tubs, because they allow for a more immersive experience, and they can be especially useful for elderly folk who can’t easily climb in and out of a traditional bathroom fixture. But the family of a 67-year-old woman says her Jacuzzi walk-in tub turned into a death trap, when it failed to drain and prevented her from getting out.

Her family says in a lawsuit filed against Jacuzzi Brands and six suppliers and installers that she was in her walk-in tub in February 2014 when she tried to pull the drain plug so she could get out, reports Courthouse News.

But the plug was defective and the drain system didn’t work, the suit alleges. With the Jacuzzi full of water, she was unable to open the door to leave. When her friends couldn’t reach her for a few days, they went to check on her and found her dead in the tub.

The administrator of her estate filed the lawsuit claiming negligence, strict liability, and failure to warn, claiming that Jacuzzi and those who installed the tub should have known the tub “had a design and/or manufacturing defect” that made it “unreasonably dangerous and potentially deadly.”

According to the family’s suit, the plug and drain system posed an unreasonable safety risk; defendants did not warn her about potential safety hazards; negligently designed, tested, manufactured and installed the walk-in Jacuzzi tub; and did not give her effective instructions or warnings on its use. The family is seeking punitive damages.

We’ve reached out to Jacuzzi Brands for comment, and will update this story when we hear back.

Defective Jacuzzi Called a Deadly Trap [Courthouse News]

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  1. JoeBlow says:

    That’s actually really interesting. Aside from recommendations of not using one of these without being able to contact someone, either someone in the house, via phone, or a life alert bracelet or something, I wonder what could be done to make this safer. Maybe a siphon to drain the tub either into the tub’s overflow drain, or into nearby plumbing like a toilet or sink, or at least out onto the floor (while that could do a lot of damage, it would still be preferable to being trapped and dying.)