California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) (2017)

1243. Notification/Reasonable Time

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1243.Notification/Reasonable Time
If a buyer is required to notify the seller that a product [is not as
represented] [does not have the expected quality] [is not suitable] [is in
a harmful condition], [he/she/it] must do so within a reasonable time
after [he/she/it] discovers or should have discovered this. A reasonable
time depends on the circumstances of the case. In determining whether
notice was given within a reasonable time, you must apply a more
relaxed standard to a retail consumer than you would to a merchant
buyer. A buyer notifies a seller by taking such steps as may be
reasonably required to inform the seller [regardless of whether the seller
actually receives the notice].
New September 2003
Sources and Authority
• Notice to Seller of Breach. California Uniform Commercial Code section
2607(3).
• The California Uniform Commercial Code comment to section 2-607(4) states:
“The time of notification is to be determined by applying commercial standards
to a merchant buyer. ‘A reasonable time’ for notification from a retail consumer
is to be judged by different standards so that in his case it will be extended, for
the rule of requiring notification is designed to defeat commercial bad faith, not
to deprive a good faith consumer of his remedy. [¶] The content of the
notification need merely be sufficient to let the seller know that the transaction
is still troublesome and must be watched. There is no reason to require that the
notification which saves the buyer’s rights under this section must include a
clear statement of all the objections that will be relied on by the buyer, as under
the section covering statements of defects upon rejection (Section 2-605). Nor is
there reason for requiring the notification to be a claim for damages or of any
threatened litigation or other resort to a remedy. The notification which saves
the buyer’s rights under this Article need only be such as informs the seller that
the transaction is claimed to involve a breach, and thus opens the way for
normal settlement through negotiation.”
• “Notification” Defined. California Uniform Commercial Code section 1202(d).
• What is a Reasonable Time. California Uniform Commercial Code section
1205(a).
• A plaintiff is not required to prove that he or she gave notice of a breach of
warranty in personal injury and 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].)
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• Notice is more likely to be required in disputes between merchants. (See
Fieldstone Co. v. Briggs Plumbing Products, Inc. (1997) 54 Cal.App.4th 357,
369–370 [62 Cal.Rptr.2d 701].)
• When required, notice must be pleaded and proved. (Vogel v. Thrifty Drug Co.
(1954) 43 Cal.2d 184, 188 [272 P.2d 1].)
• The purpose of the demand for notice is to protect the seller from stale claims
(Whitfield v. Jessup (1948) 31 Cal.2d 826, 828 [193 P.2d 1]; Metowski v. Traid
Corp. (1972) 28 Cal.App.3d 332, 339 [104 Cal.Rptr. 599]) and to give the
defendant an opportunity to repair the defective item, reduce damages, improve
products in the future, and negotiate settlements. (Pollard v. Saxe & Yolles
Development Co. (1974) 12 Cal.3d 374, 380 [115 Cal.Rptr. 648, 525 P.2d 88].)
Secondary Sources
California Products Liability Actions, Ch. 8, Defenses,§ 8.07 (Matthew Bender)
44 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 502, Sales: Warranties,
§§ 502.28, 502.100 (Matthew Bender)
CACI No. 1243 PRODUCTS LIABILITY
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