California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) (2017)

1232. Implied Warranty of Fitness for a Particular Purpose - Essential Factual Elements

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1232.Implied Warranty of Fitness for a Particular
Purpose—Essential Factual Elements
[Name of plaintiff] claims that [he/she/it] was harmed by the [product]
that [he/she/it] bought from [name of defendant] because the [product]
was not suitable for [name of plaintiff]’s intended purpose. To establish
this claim, [name of plaintiff] must prove all of the following:
1. That [name of plaintiff] bought the [product] from [name of
defendant];
2. That, at the time of purchase, [name of defendant] knew or had
reason to know that [name of plaintiff] intended to use the
product for a particular purpose;
3. That, at the time of purchase, [name of defendant] knew or had
reason to know that [name of plaintiff] was relying on [his/her/its]
skill and judgment to select or furnish a product that was
suitable for the particular purpose;
4. That [name of plaintiff] justifiably relied on [name of defendant]’s
skill and judgment;
5. That the [product] was not suitable for the particular purpose;
6. [That [name of plaintiff] took reasonable steps to notify [name of
defendant] within a reasonable time that the [product] was not
suitable;]
7. That [name of plaintiff] was harmed; and
8. That the failure of the [product] to be suitable was a substantial
factor in causing [name of plaintiff]’s harm.
New September 2003
Directions for Use
This cause of action could also apply to products that are leased. If so, modify the
instruction accordingly.
The giving of notice to the seller is not required in personal injury or property
damage lawsuits against a manufacturer or another supplier with whom the plaintiff
has not directly dealt. (Greenman v. Yuba Power Products, Inc. (1963) 59 Cal.2d
57, 61 [27 Cal.Rptr. 697, 377 P.2d 897]; Gherna v. Ford Motor Co. (1966) 246
Cal.App.2d 639, 652–653 [55 Cal.Rptr. 94].)
If an instruction on the giving of notice to the seller is needed, see CACI
No. 1243, Notification/Reasonable Time.
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Sources and Authority
• Implied Warranty of Fitness for Particular Purpose. California Uniform
Commercial Code section 2315.
• “A warranty is a contractual term concerning some aspect of the sale, such as
title to the goods, or their quality or quantity.” (4 Witkin, Summary of
California Law (10th ed. 2005) Sales, § 51.)
• “An implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose arises only where (1)
the purchaser at the time of contracting intends to use the goods for a particular
purpose, (2) the seller at the time of contracting has reason to know of this
particular purpose, (3) the buyer relies on the seller’s skill or judgment to select
or furnish goods suitable for the particular purpose, and (4) the seller at the
time of contracting has reason to know that the buyer is relying on such skill
and judgment.” (Keith v. Buchanan (1985) 173 Cal.App.3d 13, 25 [220
Cal.Rptr. 392], internal citation omitted.)
• “ ‘A “particular purpose” differs from the ordinary purpose for which the goods
are used in that it envisages a specific use by the buyer which is peculiar to the
nature of his business whereas the ordinary purposes for which goods are used
are those envisaged in the concept of merchantability and go to uses which are
customarily made of the goods in question.’ ” (American Suzuki Motor Corp. v.
Superior Court (1995) 37 Cal.App.4th 1291, 1295, fn. 2 [44 Cal.Rptr.2d 526],
internal citation omitted.)
• “The warranty of fitness for a particular purpose is not limited to sales by a
merchant as is the warranty of merchantability. It may be imposed on any seller
possessing sufficient skill and judgment to justify the buyer’s reliance. The
Code drafters suggest, however, that a nonmerchant seller will only in particular
circumstances have that degree of skill and judgment necessary to justify
imposing the warranty.” (4 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005)
Sales, § 75.)
• “The reliance elements are important to the consideration of whether an implied
warranty of fitness for a particular purpose exists. . . . The major question in
determining the existence of an implied warranty of fitness for a particular
purpose is the reliance by the buyer upon the skill and judgment of the seller to
select an article suitable for his needs.” (Keith, supra, 173 Cal.App.3d at p. 25,
internal citations omitted.)
• In Keith, the reviewing court upheld the trial court’s finding that there was no
reliance because “the plaintiff did not rely on the skill and judgment of the
defendants to select a suitable vessel, but that he rather relied on his own
experts.” (Keith, supra, 173 Cal.App.3d at p. 25.)
• “Vertical privity is a prerequisite in California for recovery on a theory of
breach of the implied warranties of fitness and merchantability.” (United States
Roofing, Inc. v. Credit Alliance Corp. (1991) 228 Cal.App.3d 1431, 1441 [279
Cal.Rptr. 533], internal citations omitted.)
CACI No. 1232 PRODUCTS LIABILITY
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• Although privity appears to be required for actions based upon the implied
warranty of merchantability, there are exceptions to this rule, such as one for
members of the purchaser’s family. (Hauter v. Zogarts (1975) 14 Cal.3d 104,
115, fn. 8 [120 Cal.Rptr. 681, 534 P.2d 377].) Vertical privity is also waived for
employees. (Peterson v. Lamb Rubber Co. (1960) 54 Cal.2d 339 [5 Cal.Rptr.
863, 353 P.2d 575].) A plaintiff satisfies the privity requirement when he or she
leases or negotiates the sale or lease of the product. (United States Roofing,
supra.)
Secondary Sources
California Products Liability Actions, Ch. 2, Liability for Defective Products, § 2.31
(Matthew Bender)
44 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 502, Sales: Warranties,
§§ 502.24, 502.51, 502.220 (Matthew Bender)
20 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 206, Sales (Matthew Bender)
PRODUCTS LIABILITY CACI No. 1232
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