Bayliner v. Crow

Dispute

Crow purchased a pleasure boat from Bayliner, but became dissatisfied when it was not as fast as he wanted for his fishing plans. One brochure provided by the salesman stated that similar models could achieve speeds of 30 mph. Crow sued Bayliner under express warranty, implied warranty of merchantability, and implied warranty of fitness. Trial court found for Crow and Bayliner appealed.

Rules of law

Express warranty must be specific, not mere commendation or puffery. Reasonably relied upon? Implied warranty of merchantability is an objective standard contemplating general use and reasonable satisfaction. Implied warranty of fitness requires effectual communication of intended use to merchant.

Arguments

Crow and the trial court argued that the boat was too slow to be used for offshore fishing and he would not have purchased it if he had not believed it as fast as he wanted. He also argued that his inquiries about the boat’s speed and his desired purpose were enough to trigger implied warranty of fitness. He argued statements about speed were express warranties and that the lack of utility for offshore fishing was a breach of warranty of merchantability.

The appellate court argued that commendations of the boat were mere puffery which did not constitute any express warranty. The brochures advertised a different rotor and lighter load and thus were not applicable. There was no evidence Crow had effectually communicated his intended purpose or specific needs. Finally, the boat was within the range of suitability for typical, objective use.

Conclusion

The appellate court reversed and ordered a directed verdict for Bayliner.

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