A class action lawsuit says that the interior light of certain LG refrigerator models stays on after the doors are closed, leading to spoiled food and melted plastic, and presenting a serious fire hazard.

The complaint, filed in federal court in New Jersey, says that the problem arises from a uniform and inherent design defect that results in the failure of the interior lights of the refrigerator to turn off when the refrigerator door is closed.

As a result, the lights become hot and melt parts of the refrigerator they are in contact with, including the plastic covering the lights, which produces a burning smell.

In addition to the obvious fire risk, the complaint says that the defect creates a risk that consumers could burn themselves upon contact with hot refrigerator parts or could be sickened by food that spoils due to high interior temperatures. The defect allegedly implicates french door refrigerator models sold since 2005.

Although some of the plaintiffs ended up taking the light out of the refrigerator, the complaint says that the lack of an interior light makes it very difficult for consumers to see what they have stored in the refrigerator.

The plaintiffs allege that LG knew of the problem, or, at the very least, was reckless in not knowing about it. The complaint points out that consumers complained to LG about the defect as early as 2006, and that the company provided repairs that it knew would not cure the defect but would instead merely delay the impact of the defect.

The suit also accuses LG of making false and misleading statements regarding the refrigerators' quality, and of active and ongoing concealment of the defect. While the complaint says that there is no one document or communication upon which that claim is based, it alleges that LG was under a duty to disclose the defect based upon its exclusive knowledge of it, and failed to do so.

Buried in 67 pages of complaints about LG refrigerators, ConsumerAffairs.com has received several implicating the interior lights.

As Cindy of Belwood, Ontario wrote:

"Woke up this morning to find that the light in our refrigerator had melted the plastic casing and that all of our food was hot! (The butter had actually melted in the butter dish!). Our fridge still smells really bad and the light cover has fallen right off. The plastic panel behind the lights has also melted and is bubbled. The light bulb sockets are black. I called LG customer service today and they gave me a case number and the name of a local appliance repair company to come and fix it. I am still waiting to see what will happen."

Clarence of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania had a similar experience:

"Talked to a LG customer service rep about the entire light/control panel falling off the roof of my fridge.(Model LFRC22750TT - French doors with Freezer on bottom) I was told LG would do nothing to correct this problem. Spent over 1600.00 and I don't think motherboards should be failing at 4 years old causing the lights to stay on and melt the housing. That is faulty product and LG know about."

The suit is brought on behalf of anyone in the U.S. who owns, or has owned, an LG french door refrigerator containing a light that stays on when the doors are closed. The complaint specifically singles out model numbers LFC25760SW and LRFC22750ST as containing the defect. The suit includes counts for breach of implied warranty, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, and violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.