Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Norcold Over RV Refrigerators

Thousands of consumers in California and Florida that purchased Norcold recreational vehicle and boat refrigerators are now finding out these products may have a design defect making them a fire hazard risk, a Minneapolis, Minnesota-based law firm recently announced.

Zimmerman Reid36018_3738Zimmerman Reed represents RV owners that recently filed a lawsuit alleging that Norcold knew of the RV refrigerator fire risk, but hid that information from the public. People who purchased a Norcold-brand gas absorption refrigerator are being asked to contact the firm to find out if they have a legal claim.

Through this class action Plaintiffs challenge the unlawful, unfair, and fraudulent business practices of Defendants in connection with their designing, manufacturing, assembling, promoting, marketing, supplying, selling, recalling, retrofitting, and otherwise placing into the stream of commerce gas absorption refrigerators for use in RVs.

According to the complaint, since at least 1997, Defendants have designed, manufactured, assembled, sold, and otherwise placed into the stream of commerce three models of gas absorption refrigerators for installation and use in RVs, including six cubic feet (the “N6” Series), eight cubic feet (the “N8” Series), and twelve cubic feet (the “1200” Series), all of which share common design and manufacturing defects.

The complaint further indicates that Defendants’ gas absorption refrigerators have caused and/or contributed to at least 2,000 fires since 1999, resulting in over $48 million in property damage claims, personal injuries, and at least one death. As of the date of this complaint, defendants are receiving new fire claims involving their gas absorption refrigerators at a rate of 1 to 2 per day.

3-way_cycleAll of Defendants’ gas absorption refrigerators share the same technology, which involves a process whereby a solution of ammonia, water, sodium chromate, and hydrogen gas is heated by electricity or propane until it boils (approximately 400 degrees Fahrenheit), releasing ammonia gas.

The gas circulates through a series of tubes at approximately 450 psi. As the ammonia gas is first condensed to liquid, and then evaporated through interaction with the hydrogen gas, heat is removed from the refrigerator box, causing the temperature in the box to decrease and providing the refrigeration effect. The series of tubes is referred to as a “cooling unit”, and includes the heat source (propane and electric), as well as a condenser, evaporator, absorber, and solution tank.

Fires are caused when defects in the refrigerator design release the flammable gases, which can then explosively ignite and spread quickly through the refrigerator compartment and into the passenger area of the RV.

In 2000, the company issued a series of limited product safety recalls for their Norcold RV refrigerator, and that if retrofitted with a thermal sensor, the refrigerators would be safe to use.

672_stIn fact, this so-called fix caused further harm to consumers by retrofitting the defective refrigerators with a device that masks the defects by disabling the electronic controls within the refrigerator before the refrigerator has a chance to ignite a fire. The harm caused by this is felt when the refrigerator malfunctions and fails, and the retrofit device permanently disables the electronic controls, the law firm claims.

The firm has filed a class action lawsuit in with the Superior Court of California seeking a jury trial.


Norcold Class Action Complaint

To read the entire Norcold Class Action Complaint, click here.

Zimmerman Reed

Zimmerman Reed was founded in 1983 and has tailored its thinking to meet the needs of its clients and the public.

Over the past twenty years, Zimmerman Reed has represented tens of thousands of clients in both individual and class action cases.

A class action is a legal tool which allows individuals who have experienced a common injury to assert their claims in an affordable and efficient manner. Class actions deter businesses from using deceptive business practices or finding a way out of accountability by committing multiple “minor” violations. The class action empowers individuals who have been wronged but cannot afford to engage in lone combat against a powerful defendant and all its available resources.

Address: 1100 IDS Center, 80 South 8th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402

Phone: (612) 341-0400 or (800) 755-0098 (toll free)


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