Law School Case Brief
Air Prods. & Chems., Inc. v. Fairbanks Morse, Inc. - 58 Wis. 2d 193, 206 N.W.2d 414 (1973)
Although predictability of results, maintenance of interstate and international order, simplification of the judicial task, advancement of the forum's governmental interests, and application of the better rule of law should all be given due consideration in the ultimate outcome of any choice-of-law question, the court should not engage in a mere counting of these considerations but rather look to the "relevancy" of the particular consideration in terms of the policies which the forum deems important, vis-a-vis, other contact states.
Plaintiff buyer filed an action against defendant seller after receiving a defective motor from the seller. The Circuit Court for Rock County (Wisconsin) sustained the buyer's demurrers to the seller's affirmative defenses based on the statute of limitations, overruled the buyer's demurrers to the seller's affirmative defenses based on limitations of liability, and sustained the demurrers to the buyer's complaint that alleged strict liability. The trial court in sustaining the demurrers of the buyer to the statute of limitations affirmative defense of the seller, concluded that each state must determine for itself the period of time in which an action for a particular claim could be brought. The trial court concluded that the "center-of-gravity" approach to conflicts questions was too unpredictable to be used when the fundamental question of the appropriate statute of limitations was at issue.
Did the trial court commit a reversible error when it granted the demurrers to the seller's defense based on the statute of limitations and the order that overruled the buyer's demurrers to the seller's defense based on liquidated damages?
The court agreed with the trial court's ruling on the statute of limitations issue. The court held that it agreed with the trial court that separate provisions of the contract that related to liquidated damages were inconsistent and ambiguous. The court concluded that the disclaimer for consequential loss was sufficiently material to require express conversation between the parties over its inclusion or exclusion in the contract. The court held that the complaint containing allegations that the machines were unreasonably dangerous to other parts of themselves set forth a valid cause of action for strict liability.
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