A group of RV owners filed an updated class-action lawsuit against Dometic Corporation, with firsthand accounts and photos of RV and property destruction and massive erupting fires, alleged to be caused by defective Dometic gas absorption refrigerators, according to consumer-rights law firm Hagens Berman.

The lawsuit states that every gas absorption refrigerator manufactured by Dometic since 1997 shares common technology, common cooling unit design and common defects, including the propensity of the refrigerator's cooling unit boiler tube to corrode, crack and expel hydrogen gas at high pressure, which can spontaneously combust, or reach other ignition sources, causing a fire, putting consumers at risk of deadly fires, explosions, loss of property and loss of the value of their RV or boat.

The 124-page lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco on July 8, 2016, seeks to force Dometic to repair or replace defective refrigerators and compensate consumers for the diminution of value of their RVs and boats as a result of these manufacturer defects.

If you own a boat or RV equipped with a Dometic gas absorption refrigerator, you may be entitled to compensation. Find out your rights and sign up for the class-action lawsuit against Dometic.

"We've received harrowing accounts and photos from RV owners across the country, and we believe that this is a potentially life-threatening issue that Dometic has … attempted to conceal," said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman. "In no way has Dometic done its due diligence. It blatantly hides information about the defect when consumers purchase the affected refrigerators, and when consumers suffer massive, destructive fires that ruin their RVs and other property, Dometic responds to them with silence."

The lawsuit details the following accounts, as well as photos of the destruction:
  • On Mar. 20, 2012, a plaintiff's Dometic refrigerator unexpectedly erupted into flames, damaging both the refrigerator and the RV. Flames and smoke were seen coming out from the RV vents near the location of the refrigerator. Members of the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue department arrived and removed the refrigerator, as it was identified as the source of the fire. On Apr. 3, 2012, the plaintiffs contacted Dometic via telephone, and notified it of the malfunction. That same day, the plaintiffs emailed Dometic and included photographs of the damage and additional information. The plaintiffs again emailed Dometic and included further photographs, days later. Dometic did not respond.
  • On Aug. 16, 2015, without warning, another plaintiff lost their entire RV as well as a large covered wooden deck surrounding the RV due to an unexpected malfunction of their Dometic refrigerator.
  • On Mar. 1, 2016, one consumer's refrigerator malfunctioned and ignited a fire without warning while parked on their property. A thermal disc fail-safe device had been installed. The RV was completely destroyed in the fire, which also caused damage to the plaintiff's personal property and surrounding property.
  • On Mar. 27, 2016, without warning, another plaintiffs' refrigerator malfunctioned and ignited a fire. He witnessed flames from his RV's refrigerator vent. His RV was completely destroyed in the fire, which also caused damage to his house and surrounding property.

The lawsuit states that the defective 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, all of which Dometic tracked through multiple non-public, internal databases. Despite this knowledge, Dometic "failed and refused to eliminate the defects and/or provide consumers with adequate warnings," according to the complaint.

In addition, the suit states that Dometic resorted to "retaining a cadre of regionally based fire investigators, third-party claims administrators, attorneys and various engineering and metallurgical experts" upon each report of a refrigerator fire or explosion deployed "for the express purpose of diverting attention" from the refrigerators as the cause of the fire and to hide the issue from the public.

Find out more about the lawsuit against Dometic.

About Hagens Berman

Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm with offices in 10 cities. The firm has been named to the National Law Journal's Plaintiffs' Hot List eight times. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.

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