There was a class action lawsuit against Norcold in 2013 that resulted in the judge vacating the settlement as it was very heavily in favor of the lawyers. Since then, a new lawsuit was filed and has been tentatively settled.
Details of the second Norcold Lawsuit
Welcome to the Etter et. al. v. Norcold, Inc. settlement website.
This website contains information regarding a proposed class action settlement that has been preliminarily approved by the Court in Etter et. al. v. Norcold, Inc., Case No. 8:13-CV-0081-JLS-RNB.
NATURE OF THE SETTLEMENT
Generally, the lawsuits allege that Defendants’ Norcold 1200 Series, N8 Series and N6 Series Gas Absorption Refrigerators, typically installed in RVs (motorhomes, travel trailers, and boats), share a safety related defect in the cooling unit which, in certain circumstances, causes the boiler tubes to corrode and leak flammable gas, exposing owners and other users of the RVs to the risk of fire. The lawsuits allege class claims for breach of state consumer protection statutes and for breach of express and implied warranties. Full copies of the complaints and other relevant pleadings can be reviewed on the Court Documents page of this website. Those claims are being settled and released as part of this settlement, should it be approved and should you elect to remain in the class and accept the benefits offered and terms. Claims for personal injury, wrongful death and for damage to property other than to the subject refrigerators are called Reserved Claims and are not released under the settlement.
Defendants deny any wrongdoing and have denied all allegations in the complaints and asserted many defenses. In addition, Defendants have recalled the 1200 Series Refrigerators and retrofitted them with a device aimed at preventing a fire in the certain circumstances of a leak.THE SETTLEMENT CLASS
You are included in the Settlement Class if you:
- Currently own, or formerly owned, a Norcold 1200 Series Gas Absorption Refrigerator or Cooling Unit that was manufactured between January 1, 2002, and October 1, 2012; OR,
- Currently own a Norcold N6 Series Gas Absorption Refrigerator or Cooling Unit, or a Norcold N8 Series Gas Absorption Refrigerator or Cooling Unit, that was manufactured between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2013.
Owners of other Norcold Gas Absorption Refrigerator models and manufacture years are not in the Class, and are not releasing any claims. Also, specifically excluded from the Class are:
- any officers, directors or employees of Defendants;
- any judge assigned to hear this case (or spouse or family member of any assigned judge);
- any employee of the Court;
- any juror selected to hear this case;
- any person who had claims against Defendants for personal injury, wrongful death or for damage to property in relation to an alleged defective Gas Absorption Refrigerator or Cooling Unit which were fully resolved by way of settlement, dismissal or judgment prior to July 21, 2014;
- any person who as of July 21, 2014, had a separate lawsuit pending against Defendants in any state or federal court asserting claims related to an alleged defective Gas Absorption Refrigerator or Cooling Unit;
- any person who purchased a Norcold Gas Absorption Refrigerator as used equipment, either as a standalone product or as a component part of a used RV sale, that no longer had a Norcold Cooling Unit installed at the time of purchase but rather had a cooling unit manufactured by a manufacturer other than Norcold at the time of purchase; and
- persons who timely and properly exclude themselves from the Class as provided in this Agreement.
The settlement does not involve claims of personal injury, wrongful death or damage to property other than to the Norcold Refrigerator they own or owned, as a result of a leak or fire. Such claims are reserved and are not released.
Details of the First Norcold Lawsuit
Consumers File Motion For Class Certification Against Norcold for its Fire-Prone RV Fridges.
On December 27, 2013, 22 consumers filed a motion for class certification status in their lawsuit alleging that the manufacturers of Norcold-brand gas absorption refrigerators, used in Recreational Vehicles (RV’s), knowingly sold defective refrigerators that posed a serious fire risk, but hid that information from the public and federal regulators. The class action lawsuit, filed in the Central District of California, is seeking relief on behalf of all persons who purchased or owned RV’s in California, Florida, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Tennessee, Oregon, North Carolina, Washington, Illinois and Arizona, equipped with three models of Norcold-brand gas absorption refrigerators. The lawsuit names Norcold, Inc., and its parent companies, Thetford Corporation, and Dyson-Kissner-Moran Corporation (DKM), as Defendants. The three Defendants now have until the end of January, to file a response to the motion. A hearing is scheduled in March 2014 before Judge Staton to decide if the case will proceed as a class action. The class action lawsuit seeks to force Defendants to warn the Class and repair the defective cooling units before further leaks occur, exposing consumers to unreasonable safety risks.
The lawsuit alleges that since 1999, thousands of Norcold’s gas absorption refrigerators have had their boiler tubes corrode and leak flammable gas in the vicinity of the unit’s heaters, presenting a dangerous fire risk. The refrigerators contain flammable gases – including hydrogen gas – under high pressure. Fires are caused when defects in the refrigerator’s cooling units cause the boiler tubes to corrode, leak and release the flammable gases close to a heat source, which can then ignite.
The lawsuit alleges that since 1999, thousands of Defendants’ N6, N8 and 1200 series gas absorption refrigerators have had their boiler tubes corrode and leak. Yet, Defendants still refuse to fix the actual defect that causes the leaks. The lawsuit alleges that rather than eliminate the design defects, Defendants have instead conceal the true nature of ongoing dangers through a series of low-cost, limited recalls proposing to retrofit the cooling units with devices they present as adequate repairs in recall notices. But the critical problem with all of these retrofit devices, the lawsuit alleges, is that: (1) none of them actually fix the defect that causes the boiler tubes to leak; (2) the retrofit devices are simply temperature sensors designed to minimize resulting damage in circumstances where a leak has already occurred, and (3) they often fail to work as evidenced by the large number of leaks and fires that have continued to occur in retrofitted units. As a result, each class member continues to possess a defective cooling unit which exposes them to unreasonable safety risks:
Hence, the recalls and retrofit devices amount to little more than placing a band-aid on a cancer victim – a so-called “remedy” that does not come close to fixing the underlying problem, which remains. Class members acting diligently in obtaining the recalls, therefore, are lulled into a false sense of security, never being informed of the truth. Plaintiffs seek, through this class action, to hold Defendants accountable and to secure necessary relief for the Class under applicable consumer protection and warranty laws.