California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)
3211. Breach of Implied Warranty of Fitness for a Particular Purpose - Essential Factual Elements
[Name of plaintiff] claims that [he/she] was harmed because the [consumer good] was not suitable for [his/her] intended use. This is known as a "breach of an implied warranty." To establish this claim, [name of plaintiff] must prove all of the following:
1. That [name of plaintiff] bought a[n] [consumer good] [from/ manufactured by/distributed by] [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 [consumer good] 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 provide a [consumer good] that was suitable for that particular purpose;
4. That [name of plaintiff] justifiably relied on [name of defendant]'s skill and judgment; and
5. That the [consumer good] was not suitable for the particular purpose.
Directions for Use
If remedies are sought under the Commercial Code, the plaintiff may be required to prove reasonable notification within a reasonable time. (Cal. U. Com. Code, § 2607(3).) If the court determines such proof is necessary, add the following element to this instruction:
That [name of plaintiff] took reasonable steps to notify [name of defendant] within a reasonable time that the [consumer good] was not suitable for its intended use;
See also CACI No. 1243, Notification/Reasonable Time.
If appropriate to the facts, add: "It is not necessary for [name of plaintiff] to prove the cause of a defect of the [consumer good]." The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act does not require a consumer to prove the cause of he defect or failure, only that the consumer good "did not conform to the express warranty." (See Oregel v. American Isuzu Motors, Inc. (2001) 90 Cal.App.4th 1094, 1102, fn. 8 [109 Cal.Rptr.2d 583].)
In addition to sales of consumer goods, the Consumer Warranty Act applies to leases of consumer goods—see Civil Code sections 1791(g)-(i) and 1795.4. This instruction may be modified for use in cases involving the implied warranty of fitness in a lease of consumer goods.
Sources and Authority
Civil Code section 1791.1(b) provides, in part: " 'Implied warranty of fitness' means . . . that when the retailer, distributor, or manufacturer has reason to know any particular purpose for which the consumer goods are required, and further, that the buyer is relying on the skill and judgment of the seller to select and furnish suitable goods, then there is an implied warranty that the goods shall be fit for such purpose."
Civil Code section 1792.1 provides: "Every sale of consumer goods that are sold at retail in this state by a manufacturer who has reason to know at the time of the retail sale that the goods are required for a particular purpose and that the buyer is relying on the manufacturer's skill or judgment to select or furnish suitable goods shall be accompanied by such manufacturer's implied warranty of fitness."
Civil Code section 1792.2(a) provides: "Every sale of consumer goods that are sold at retail in this state by a retailer or distributor who has reason to know at the time of the retail sale that the goods are required for a particular purpose, and that the buyer is relying on the retailer's or distributor's skill or judgment to select or furnish suitable goods shall be accompanied by such retailer's or distributor's implied warranty that the goods are fit for that purpose."
Commercial Code section 2714(2) provides: "The measure of damages for breach of warranty is the difference at the time and place of acceptance between the value of the goods accepted and the value they would have had if they had been as warranted, unless special circumstances show proximate damages of a different amount."
"The Consumer Warranty Act makes . . . an implied warranty [of fitness for a particular purpose] applicable to retailers, distributors, and manufacturers. . . . 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 ime 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 citations 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 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.)
Civil Code section 1792.3 provides, in part: "[N]o implied warranty of fitness shall be waived, except in the case of a sale of consumer goods on an 'as is' or 'with all faults' basis where the provisions of this [act] affecting 'as is' or 'with all faults' sales are strictly complied with."
"The question of reimbursement or replacement is relevant only under [Civil Code] section 1793.2. . . . [T]his section applies only when goods cannot be made to conform to the 'applicable express warranties.' It has no relevance to the implied warranty of merchantability." (Music Acceptance Corp. v. Lofing (1995) 32 Cal.App.4th 610, 620 [39 Cal.Rptr.2d 159].)
Civil Code section 1791.1(d) provides, in part: "Any buyer of consumer goods injured by a breach of . . . the implied warranty of fitness has the remedies provided in Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 2601) and Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 2701) of Division 2 of the Commercial Code, and, in any action brought under such provisions, [Civil Code] Section 1794 . . . shall apply."
"The Song-Beverly Act incorporates the provisions of [Commercial Code] sections 2314 and 2315. It 'supplements, rather than supersedes, he provisions of the California Uniform Commercial Code' by broadening a consumer's remedies to include costs, attorney's fees, and civil penalties." (American Suzuki Motor Corp., supra, 37 Cal.App.4th at p. 1295, fn. 2, internal citation omitted.)
Civil Code section 1794(b) provides, in part: The measure of the buyer's damages in an action under this section shall include the following:
(1) Where the buyer has rightfully rejected or justifiably revoked acceptance of the goods or has exercised any right to cancel the sale, Sections 2711, 2712, and 2713 of the Commercial Code shall apply.
(2) Where the buyer has accepted the goods, Sections 2714 and 2715 of the Commercial Code shall apply, and the measure of damages shall include the cost of repairs necessary to make the goods conform.
Commercial Code section 2714(1) provides: "Where the buyer has accepted goods and given notification (subdivision (3) of Section 2607) he or she may recover, as damages for any nonconformity of tender, the loss resulting in the ordinary course of events from the seller's breach as determined in any manner that is reasonable."
"The notice requirement of [former Civil Code] section 1769 . . . is not an appropriate one for the court to adopt in actions by injured consumers against manufacturers with whom they have not dealt. As between the immediate parties to the sale [the notice requirement] is a sound commercial rule, designed to protect the seller against unduly delayed claims for damages. As applied to personal injuries, and notice to a remote seller, it becomes a booby-trap for the unwary.' " (Greenman v. Yuba Power Products, Inc. (1963) 59 Cal.2d 57, 61 [27 Cal.Rptr. 697, 377 P.2d 897], internal citations omitted.)
3 Witkin, Summary of California Law (9th ed. 1987) Sales, §§ 69-70, 72-74
1 California UCC Sales & Leases (Cont.Ed.Bar 2002) Warranties, §§ 3.33- 3.40
2 California UCC Sales & Leases (Cont.Ed.Bar 2002) Leasing of Goods, §§ 19.31-19.32
California Products Liability Actions, Ch. 2, Liability for Defective Products, § 2.31[b] (Matthew Bender)
44 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 502, Sales: Warranties, § 502.51 (Matthew Bender)
20 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 206, Sales (Matthew Bender)
5 Bancroft-Whitney's California Civil Practice: Business Litigation (1993) Consumer Warranties, §§ 53:5-53:7, 53:31, pp. 11-13, 38-39
(New September 2003)