Tag Archives: Magnuson-Moss

Damages and Disclaimers, the Finale

Here is the third and final post in my series on damages and disclaimers in consumer product warranty actions. (Parts 1 and 2 are here and here.) Continue reading

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Damages and Disclaimers cont’d.

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Here’s part two of my discussion of damages and disclaimers in cases involving claims that a warranty on a consumer product has been breached. (Part 1 is here.) Continue reading

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Damages And Disclaimers in Actions for Breach of a “Repair or Replacement” Warranty

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How should damages be measured in an action for breach of repair-and-replacement warranty? And what elements of damages should available? I recently ran across a piece I wrote addressing these questions in 2005. Remarkably – or, perhaps, not so remarkably given the pace at which the law evolves – it remains relevant; so I thought I’d put it out there for comment.  Continue reading

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Consumer Reports to consumers: Choose risk or over peace of mind

boxing clip artIn a September 6 piece, Why you should avoid home warranties, Consumer Reports again takes a shot at service contracts. Noting a recent complaint filed by New Jersey regulators against Choice Home Warranty for allegedly making it difficult to obtain benefits, CR “recommend[s] avoiding service contracts” because those “that cover homes and cars, for example, can cost hundreds of dollars.” But what if the car or home costs many thousands of dollars? Isn’t spending a few hundred bucks on a service contract worth it to minimize risk and secure peace of mind? “No,” says CR, “it makes much more sense to buy reliable products and maintain them as the manufacturer recommends.” Now it’s clear, just buy things that won’t malfunction or fail. Continue reading

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Case Note: Court puts the brakes on implied warranty claims

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“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

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Arbitration wins another court battle

court houseIt is quickly moving beyond dispute that federal consumer protection law favors binding arbitration over litigation. A North Carolina federal trial court recently joined two federal appellate courts in ruling that the federal warranty law, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, does not ban binding arbitration provisions in consumer product warranties. This is good news for consumer product manufacturers, and better news for consumers if more companies turn to binding arbitration.

But still, auto, boat and RV companies, primary targets under the MMWA, shy away from going the arbitration route. Let’s hope this changes. Continue reading

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Federal Warranty Claim Involving a Commercial Truck Forced to Exit

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

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Raising the bar in breach of implied warranty cases

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

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On the Horizon – Illinois Appellate Court to Review Product Buy-Back Claim

Janis v. Workhorse Custom Chassis, a consumer product breach of warranty case, is heading to the Illinois Appellate Court.  There, the court will examine whether warranty disclaimers in a sales contract prevent a dissatisfied buyer from suing to force the seller to buy back the product – and, more importantly, may rid Illinois jurisprudence of the, shall we say, “curious” Blankenship decision.  Continue reading

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