Henningsen v. Bloomfield Motors case brief
Facts: Plaintiff was injured while driving a car made by Chrysler and sold by defendant Bloomfield when something went wrong with the steering gear. Plaintiff’s husband bought the car and gave it to her as a gift; when buying it he did not read the fine print that said that there was a warranty clause that said there was no express or implied warranty besides make good of any parts that became defective. Negligence was dismissed and it went to the jury on the issue of warranty; plaintiff won and defendants appealed which was sent to NJ Supreme Court.
Decision: I think it was affirmed as to both because of the different purchasing powers of the different parties.
Reasoning: Many manufacturers had to take steps to avoid warranty obligations because the Sales act threw protection over buyers which put manufacturers on the spot. Manufacturers tried to find a way to protect themselves and stopped selling straight to consumers. The court said that it makes sense to hold the manufacturer liable because the manufacturer still is in the best position to protect the consumer. Their obligation comes from the idea of social justice, and if social justice demands the assumption of a contract then that is what happens.
The manufacturer basically set it up that if you accept the replacement of any defective parts, you agree to hold them not liable. This seems to be a difficult bargaining position for the consumer and kind of not fair.
Holding: When a manufacturer puts a new product in the steam of trade and promotes its purchase by the public, an implied warranty that it is reasonably suitable for use as such accompanies it into the hands of the ultimate purchaser.
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