Tag Archives: Magnuson-Moss
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
“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
It 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.
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
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