Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Basics: Breach of Warranty Overview

By: Brian A. Comer and Andrew DeHoll

I have not posted much on the breach of warranty theory for a products liability action, so I am hoping to do another "series" of sorts that covers various aspects of this theory. A summer associate with whom I worked last year, Andrew DeHoll, did a great deal of work on researching warranty law for me, so I want to give him recognition for all his help. Thanks very much Andrew!

If this turns into a series, it makes sense to start out with a general overview. South Carolina law allows people injured by defective products to recover damages under three contract theories: breach of an express warranty, breach of an implied warranty of merchantability; and breach of an implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. See Herring v. Home Depot, Inc., 350 S.C. 373, 379–80, 565 S.E.2d 773, 776 (Ct. App. 2002) ("Breach of warranty is an action affirming the contract."). These theories are codified at S.C. Code sections 36-2-313 (express warranty), 36-2-314 (implied warranty of merchantability), and 36-2-315 (implied warranty of fitness for particular purpose). Unlike other products liability theories (which have a statute of limitations of three years), a claim brought pursuant to a warranty theory has a statute of limitations of six years, as set forth in S.C. Code section 36-2-725.

(As discussed in prior blogs, any products liability theory in South Carolina requires proof of three foundational elements, and breach of warranty is no exception. A plaintiff must prove: (1) the plaintiff or his or her property was injured by the product; (2) the injury occurred because the product was in a defective condition, unreasonably dangerous to the user; and (3) at the time of the accident, the product was in essentially the same condition as when it left the hands of the defendant. For a full explanation of the case law behind these three elements, see this post.)

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  1. Thanks for the comment. Always open to suggestions on how to improve it. Brian

  2. Thanks for the credit, Brian. Glad to help a fellow Andersonian.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Does this also cover car purchases