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Breach of Warranty Claims in Product Liability Lawsuits 

A product warranty is a guarantee a seller makes that a particular product will perform in a certain way or will live up to a specific standard. When that product fails to perform in accordance with the warranty or to meet the standard set by the warranty and a plaintiff is injured by this failure, they may sue for breach of warranty. There are three kinds of warranties: express warranties, the implied warranty of merchantability, and the implied warranty of fitness. 

Express warranties are made by the seller, whereas implied warranties are imposed by the Uniform Commercial Code, which governs the sale of goods. All product manufacturers must sell goods that perform as they are expected to perform and that satisfy general quality standards. State laws determine how long after an injury a consumer may sue for breach of an implied warranty, so you need to check your state’s laws if you are considering suing a manufacturer for breach of warranty.  

Express Warranty

An express warranty is a specific guarantee made by the seller about the product. An express warranty is usually set forth in a sales contract, but also might be contained in a seller’s oral representations that a product will perform in a specific manner. A sales contract can be used as evidence of an express warranty in a breach of warranty lawsuit. The Uniform Commercial Code, which governs the sale of goods, allows a seller to exclude all express warranties. For example, if you buy a washing machine and the seller promises you that it will work without needing repair for five years and the washing machine breaks after three years, the seller has breached an express warranty. 

Implied Warranty of Merchantability

The implied warranty of merchantability is a guarantee that the product does not contain a design, manufacturing, or warning defect. Every product contains an implied warranty of merchantability by virtue of the seller holding it out for sale. The seller thus makes an implied promise that the product is fit for the purpose for which it is sold. If a product is defective and thus not fit for its purpose, an injured plaintiff can sue for breach of the implied warranty of merchantability in addition to their claims for design, manufacturing, or warning defect. For example, if your washing machine leaks and doesn’t properly wash clothes, you may be able to sue the manufacturer for a manufacturing defect and breach of the implied warranty of merchantability, because the washing machine does not work for its intended purpose. 

Implied Warranty of Fitness

The implied warranty of fitness is relevant where the seller knows a consumer is purchasing a product for a specific purpose and that the consumer is relying on the seller’s expertise to choose the right product to accomplish that purpose. A product can violate the implied warranty of fitness without being defective if it is not fit for the specific purpose for which the consumer purchased the product. For example, if a farmer tells a plow salesman that he is buying a plow specifically for rocky soil and the plow the salesman sells him is not fit for use in rocky soil, the farmer may have a claim for breach of the implied warranty of fitness. 

Contact a product liability lawyer, like one from Eglet Adams, if you think you may have a case. 

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