We all participate in the marketplace. And warranty law impacts virtually every sale and purchase made, in-store or on-line. So whether you are a seller of goods and services or a consumer, there is value to be had from an understanding of warranty law concepts and the policies they serve.
This being the case, the DrivingValue team shall present a series of posts that explore, examine, and and explain warranty concepts we encounter in our day-to-day transactions and the terms used to express them. Our goal is to present the material in posts that while short and easy-to-read, still provide accurate and useful information.
We hope you enjoy and find value in our efforts and we invite you to let us know how we’re doing.
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
“Doing the right thing” might reduce electric car maker Tesla Motors’ earnings short-term, “but will work out well in the long term,” writes CEO Elon Musk on the company’s blog. In today’s marketplace, I think he’s on the money. What do you think? Continue reading
Commenting on An Orwellian approach to legal writing, 3 readers share insights and experiences recommending plain language. Here’s a sampling of what they have to say:
“My crime briefs ‘read like a thriller,’” says Bapoo M. Malcolm, Advocate, Bombay High Court, India.
“Practice has shown that people appreciate simplicity & clarity in comprehension compared to more technical writing (jargons & all),” observes Janice Isu, Acting Principal Legal Officer, Office of the State Solicitor, Dept. of Justice & Attorney General, Papua New Guinea.
“A company can’t hide behind fine print written in legalese. Judges rule for the average person,” declares Paul Eveleigh, a copywriter from Melbourne, Australia.
There’s more. Continue reading
Responding to an earlier post, Plain and simple, Nick Fielden, a freelance copywriter from Perth, Australia, observes: “Perhaps when it comes to comprehension, we should be thinking less of simple versus complex, and more about clear versus obscure.” I don’t know that I’d put it in quite those terms, but before I reply further, let’s take a look at all Nick has to say: Continue reading
Robert J. Cloburn, CAIB, of Vancouver and Gregory Smith of Dark Room Perfection shared their views on a recent post, Arbitration wins another court battle. Here, I offer a few follow up thoughts. 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