California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) (2017)

3211. Breach of Implied Warranty of Fitness for a Particular Purpose - Essential Factual Elements

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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.
New September 2003
Directions for Use
If remedies are sought under the California Uniform 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 the 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
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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
• “Implied Warranty of Fitness” Defined. Civil Code section 1791.1(b).
Remedies for Breach of Warranty of Fitness. Civil Code section 1791.1(d).
• Waiver of Warranty of Fitness. Civil Code section 1792.3.
• Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act: Right of Action. Civil Code section
1794(a).
• Measure of Damages. Civil Code section 1794(b).
• Manufacturer’s Implied Warranty of Fitness. Civil Code section 1792.1.
• Retailer’s or Distributor’s Implied Warranty of Fitness. Civil Code section
1792.2(a).
• Damages for Nonconforming Goods. California Uniform Commercial Code
section 2714(1).
• Damages for Breach of Warranty. California Uniform Commercial Code section
2714(2).
• “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 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 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.)
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• “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].)
• “The Song-Beverly Act incorporates the provisions of [California Uniform
Commercial Code] sections 2314 and 2315. It ‘supplements, rather than
supersedes, the 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.)
• “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.)
Secondary Sources
4 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Sales, §§ 72, 73
1California UCC Sales & Leases (Cont.Ed.Bar) Warranties, §§ 3.33–3.40
2 California UCC Sales & Leases (Cont.Ed.Bar) Leasing of Goods, §§ 19.31–19.32
California Products Liability Actions, Ch. 2, Liability for Defective Products,
§ 2.31[2][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, § 206.64 et seq. (Matthew
Bender)
5 California Civil Practice: Business Litigation §§ 53:5–53:7 (Thomson Reuters)
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