Defective / Unsafe Marine Product Breach of Implied Warranty

A breach of warranty claim examines the obligation pursuant to a sales contract. Having graduated as a marine engineer from a merchant marine academy, acquired three U.S. Coast Guard engineer licenses and previously represented yacht/boat manufacturers and repair facilities for 19 years, board certified maritime attorney Keith Brais with the law firm of Brais Law Firm is in a unique position to assist in breach of implied warranty claims involving defective or unsafe marine products. The lawyers at the law firm of Brais Law Firm are here to help with offices in Miami, Florida, Boston, Massachusetts and Houston, Texas.

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To pursue a breach of implied warranty claim proof of negligence is not required. The eligible plaintiff is the buyer pursuant to an expressed or implied contract. Third parties who are deemed beneficiaries of a buyer’s contract can also be an eligible plaintiff. Beneficiaries can include the buyer’s family, household members, guests, employees, servants, and agents when it is reasonable to expect those persons to use, consume, or be affected by the product.

Breach of warranty is now governed by the Florida Uniform Commercial Code, which addresses breach of both expressed and implied warranties, the latter being broken down into Merchantability and Fitness for a Particular Purpose.

Under both types of implied warranty claims, there is no notice requirement and the effectiveness of disclaimers is restricted. Implied warranty claims remain an important remedy when a tort action is precluded by the “economic loss rule”, i.e., where tort recovery is not available because a product damages only itself, resulting in economic loss, but not personal injury or damage to other property. In cases of physical harm and damage to property other than the product, the doctrine of strict liability has all but replaced the breach of implied warranty claim.

Defenses common to both implied warranty claims;

  • “As Is” Sales
  • Exclusion or Modification
  • Discoverable Defects
  • Blood Products

Unless expressly disclaimed, Florida law provides that a contract for the sale of goods implies that the goods are merchantable. “Merchantable” goods are those that are fit for the ordinary purposes of their use; adequately contained, packaged, and labeled; and conformed to the promises or affirmations of their containers. Should the product fail under normal use, the seller or manufacturer is obligated to pay the difference of the value of the goods warranted and the value of the goods provided as well as any consequential damages arising from the failure. Under a merchantability claim the seller must be a merchant with respect to the goods of the kind at issue.

An implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose exists if, at the time of contracting, the seller knows of any particular purpose for which the goods are required and that the buyer is relying on the seller’s skill or judgment in selecting or furnishing suitable goods. Should the product fail while being used for the particular purpose for which it was purchased, the seller is obligated to pay the difference of the value of the goods warranted and the value of the goods provided as well as any consequential damages arising from the failure.

A unique defense to this claim is a buyer’s non-reliance upon the seller’s skill or judgment to select or furnish a suitable good/product.

Negligence and strict liability are remedies that provide only tort damages, i.e., losses that are the result of the wrongdoer’s negligence or the defective part, respectively. These damages include: personal injury, wrongful death, diminished value of property, cost of repair or restoration, value of fixtures, personal property and loss of use in certain circumstances. Damages to the defective or dangerous product itself must be recovered under a breach of contract theory, the reasoning being that contracts provide for only “the benefit of the bargain”, i.e., the cost of the product or part itself. Put differently, a contract based claim only allows for the recovery of the 89 dollar part and not the 1.2 million dollar yacht into which the part was installed. This prohibition against the recovery of tort damages is generally known as the “economic loss rule.” Breach of warranty mixes the theories and allows for the recovery of both contract and tort damages depending upon the circumstances. If the breach of the sales contract causes physical harm or damage to property other than the product itself, tort damages are available. If the breach of warranty results in damage to the product itself, contract damages are available.

The attorneys at the law firm of Brais Law Firm have the experience to protect your rights, the compassion to serve your needs, and the skill to obtain the compensation you deserve. To reach our lawyers you may click email the firm, call 800-499-0551 from within the U.S., Skype BraisLaw worldwide or click Contact Us to select and complete a form for a free evaluation of your case.

Client Reviews

★★★★★
After my accident I contacted them right away. I was able to see them the same day and was kept in contact throughout the process. Everyone in the office was very accommodating, polite and professional. I highly recommend Brais Law and think very highly of their lead attorneys. They helped me WIN my case, and I am forever grateful. They went above and beyond to assist me. Thank you all so very much. H.S.
★★★★★
The entire law firm of Brais Law were extremely helpful in handling my snorkeling accident. The firm takes customer service to a new level, not only being readily available, but courteous, respectful, sympathetic, and empathetic. The firm, especially Keith and Karla, were always quick to return calls, offer updates, and provide guidance and information. There is no comparison when it comes to firms. If you need legal advice or representation, especially concerning maritime events, contact Keith and his crew first and save yourself a lot of time and heartache! J.C.
★★★★★
I was looking to refer a client injured on a cruise ship and had the pleasure of speaking to Keith. Keith was extremely helpful and he took time out of his day to provide some guidance. If you're looking for a Admiralty & Maritime /Personal Injury Lawyer in Florida, I would highly recommend Brais Law Firm! T.C.