Rheem is a large manufacturer of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning products for residential use in the United States. Defendant manufactures and sells consumer central air conditioning units under its own trade name and under the Ruud trade name (hereinafter the “Rheem ACs”).
Air conditioners, including Rheem ACs, contain a component known as an evaporator coil, which is an essential component to the system. Inside the evaporator coil, refrigerant (such as Freon, Puron, etc.) absorbs heat from the air passing over a tube and acts as a heat exchange, thereby cooling the home’s air. Air conditioner manufacturers such as Rheem have traditionally manufactured evaporator coils using copper tubing. However, copper coils are uniquely vulnerable to a type of degradation known as “formicary corrosion.”
Formicary corrosion is caused by a chemical reaction between molecules known as volatile organic compounds and the copper tubes, and results in microscopic tunnels within the tubing which causes the coil to leak refrigerant Formicary corrosion is a particularly insidious defect in an evaporator coil because the resultant leakage is difficult to detect, and usually results in consumers being forced to repeatedly refill their air conditioners with refrigerant, often at significant cost, which only works to mask the defect for a period of time, until the Coil fails. As alleged, Rheem Coils are defective because they are manufactured with materials that, within the industry, are well known to be prone to formicary corrosion, which makes the Rheem Coils unreasonably susceptible to premature rupture and refrigerant leaks under normal use and conditions Rheem has not informed its customers of the Rheem ACs’ susceptibility to formicary corrosion, nor of the current availability of replacement coils which are not susceptible to formicary corrosion. Rheem knew, or reasonably should have known, that the Coils in its air conditioners were unreasonably susceptible to formicary corrosion and thus defective, but has failed or refused to inform consumers or initiate other similar action.
Rheem has not informed its customers of the causes of formicary corrosion, even when replacing failed Coils, which would allow customers to make an informed decision about their risks.
The classes are defined as : All persons residing in the United States who purchased a Rheem AC containing a Rheem Coil, primarily for personal, family, or household purposes. Also, All persons residing in the United States who purchased a Rheem AC containing a Rheem Coil, primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, and who paid to replace a Rheem AC evaporator coil.