A recent outbreak in the South Bronx claimed 12 lives, left another 120 victims infected and put Legionnaires’ Disease back in the headlines. Besides being potentially fatal, LD poses a serious product liability and warranty liability risk to the manufacturer of any product that holds or stores water. This group includes manufactures of HVAC equipment, water heaters, water tanks, plumbing fixtures and supplies and companies that include these items in their products, such as mobile home, motorhome and travel trailer makers. But once appreciated the liability risk can be effectively managed. Here are a few things you should know about the disease and some suggestions for managing the liability risk it poses. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Implied Warranty
Yesterday, a federal jury in Cleveland ruled for Whirlpool Corp. in a warranty-based class action involving allegedly defective front-loading washing machines. As discussed in an earlier post, the case had been up and down to the Supreme Court, and given the Court’s recent class action rulings, that was it was allowed to proceed to trial was rather unexpected. Continue reading
“Merchantability” is one of those legal terms-of-art that defies precise definition. Courts ruling on implied warranty of merchantability claims generally frame the question as whether the product was “reasonably fit for its intended purpose.” But what any given jury will find to be “reasonable” is anyone’s guess. So better for the defendant that the case never get to the jury. I think Chrysler might agree. Continue reading
Warranties are withering, claims an Arizona State marketing professor. This, he says, bodes well for service contract industry profits, but not for consumers.
But in many product sectors warranty is expanding and recent studies show that consumers believe that service contracts deliver value. Continue reading
A 2012 expansion of Pennsylvania law seems likely to have a profound impact upon liability exposure that builders and their insurers may face if the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania affirms the 2012 decision of the Pennsylvania Superior Court in Conway v. The Cutler Group. Conversely, this change may benefit real estate professionals and their clients as they now have a means to obtain redress for failures in workmanship. Unfortunately, this change most likely will result in increased litigation and expense.
A warranty plaintiff can’t make a commercial truck (or its auxiliary air conditioner) a “consumer product” simply by calling it one, but he can state an implied warranty claim by alleging that it didn’t work right. Continue reading
A recent decision suggests that the bar for finding a product maker or seller liable for breach of the implied warranty or merchantability may be getting higher – or at least that its true height may be becoming more clear.
For product makers and sellers, breach of implied warranty claims can be particularly difficult to defend. The “not reasonably fit for intended use” liability standard normally applied to claims of this type is rather amorphous. It can be given widely varied interpretations depending on who is doing the interpreting and how sympathetically the person making the claim is viewed. As a result, even relatively minor product problems are too often found sufficient to support liability, particularly in cases involving cars, RVs, and other high-ticket consumer goods.
But a favorable trend may be developing. Continue reading
Don’t overlook fundamental legal principles when formulating your response in complex class action litigaiton. A federal judge in Minnesota recently applied three seemingly simple and straight forward legal principles – or perhaps better described as common sense propositions – to dismiss a class action brought against Ford Motor Co. In sending the claimants on their way, the judge found that an express warranty should be construed and applied as written; that a plaintiff must act within the time limits placed on, and satisfy the statutory requirements associated with implied warranty claims, and that where a defendant receives no benefit, there can be no unjust enrichment. Continue reading