Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Webster v. Blue Ship Tea Room, Inc. case brief

Webster v. Blue Ship Tea Room, Inc. case brief summary
347 Mass. 421, 198 N.E.2d 309 (1964)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendant appealed a judgment for plaintiff in the Superior Court of Suffolk (Massachusetts), in an action to recover damages for personal injuries sustained by reason of a breach of implied warranty related to food served in defendant's restaurant.

CASE FACTS
Plaintiff was injured when a fish bone lodged in her throat while dining at defendant's restaurant. Plaintiff brought suit alleging a breach of implied warranty under the Uniform Commercial Code. The trial court found for plaintiff. Defendant appealed and asserted that New England fish chowder is a hearty dish and no chef should be asked to reduce the pieces of fish to miniscule size in an effort to ascertain if they contained any pieces of bone.

DISCUSSION

  • The court reviewed the history of fish chowder and found no recipes that instructed the cook to ensure that the fish was bone-free. 
  • The court found no breach of implied warranty because a restaurant customer such as plaintiff, eating fish chowder, should have anticipated having to remove some fish bones from her bowl. 
  • Therefore, the bone which injured plaintiff did not impair the fish chowder's fitness or merchantability. 
  • The court sustained defendant's exceptions and entered judgment for defendant.

CONCLUSION
The court sustained defendant's exceptions and entered judgment for defendant because the presence of a fish bone in a bowl of fish chowder should have been anticipated and guarded against by plaintiff and was not a breach of any implied warranty.

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