Santa Clara, CA: Dometic, a maker of refrigerators, is facing a defective products class action lawsuit alleging the fridges can spontaneously ignite on boats and RVs.
According to the complaint, the refrigerators have caused or contributed to at least 3,000 fires since 1997, resulting in more than $100 million in property damage and personal injury claims. Further, the suit states that Dometic tracked the claims but "failed and refused to eliminate the defects and/or provide consumers with adequate warnings."
The class action, which includes five individual RV plaintiffs, states the plaintiffs believe that 1.5 million RVs and boats in the country are equipped with "defective gas absorption refrigerators."
"In particular, defendants have concealed the true nature of the defects in the defective gas absorption refrigerators; have failed to properly repair the defective gas absorption refrigerators; and have instead initiated recall and retrofit campaigns which fail to address the underlying defects in the defective gas absorption refrigerators, fail to alleviate the risk of fire, and when engaged, require the defective gas absorption refrigerators to be replaced,"the complaint states.
According to the plaintiffs, not only have they lost money on the cost of the refrigerators, they have also had to pay hundreds of dollars to repair or replace their gas absorption refrigerators after the defendants' failed attempts to fix the defects.
"Plaintiffs have also lost money as a result of having to pay hundreds of dollars associated with loss of use of their RVs or boats,"the complaint states. "Finally, plaintiffs have lost money because they paid for a safe and useful gas absorption refrigerator for their RV or boat and the value of their RV or boat has decreased because of the installed defective gas absorption refrigerator."
"Defendants have used and manipulated the recall process to conceal the true dangers and safety risks inherent in their defective gas absorption refrigerators from both federal regulators and consumers. As a result, United States highways and campgrounds are flush with RVs containing defective gas absorption refrigerators that can, and with alarming regularity do, spontaneously burst into flames,"the suit states, noting two recalls issued by Dometic.
The plaintiffs are seeking repair or replacement of their defective refrigerators and compensation by Dometic to consumers for the diminution of value of their RVs and boats.
Plaintiffs are represented by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP. The lawsuit was filed in US District Court in the Northern District of California.