The Singer Company v. E.I. du Pont Nemours and Company Case Brief

Summary of The Singer Company v. E.I. du Pont Nemours and Company (1978)

Facts: D was contracted by the P to provide them with paint for its 22,000 gallon tank that was to be distributed by a electrodepostion system, which is a method of painting by which pretreated ware is conveyed through an electrically charged paint tank; from the beginning, P experienced problems with the system; ware emerged from the paint tank with blotches and steaks; Du Pont, which supervised the installation and starting up of this electrodeposition system, tried unsuccessfully for six months to correct this problem; Du Pont maintained that the problem was with the substrate, pretreated ware; Singer, however, insisted that the paint was at fault.

P/S: Jury returned judgment for P on an implied warranty theory in the amount of $108K; D was awared no recovery on either of its counter-claims

Issue: Whether there may exist both an express warranty and an implied warranty of fitness in the same contract.

Holding: The fact that there is a express warranty does not preclude the existence of a warranty for a particular purpose, FOR P.

Rule: U.C.C. § 2-317 provides that warranties whether express or implied shall be construed as consistent with each other and as cumulative.

Issue: Whether sufficient evidence existed for a ruling of breach of implied warranty/

Holding: The evidence was sufficient to show that D’s paint was not suitable for P’s use, FOR P.

Rule: U.C.C. § 2-315 provides that where the seller at the time of contracting has reason to know any particular purpose for which the goods are required and that the buyer is relying on the seller's skill or judgment to select or furnish suitable goods, there is unless excluded or modified an implied warranty that the goods shall be fit for such purpose.

Rationale: The D claimed that parties who have an express warranty regarding a contracted for item cannot also have an implied warranty of fitness for that same item. The court rejected this and said that the law is that an implied warranty of fitness is not necessarily excluded by the presence of an express warranty. The D also claimed that the trial court was in error giving an instruction which allowed the jury to determine the construction of the contract. The court rejected this and said that when there remains an issue of contractual intent, is to submit the issue to the jury unless the evidence is so clear that no reasonable person would determine the issue but one way. The court said that because the P relied on the D’s judgment and the D knew the use for which P purchased the paint, and the paint was not suitable for this use, that the issue of breach of implied warranty had sufficient facts for a holding for the P.

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