Law School Case Brief
Jauregui v. Bobb's Piano Sales & Serv. - 922 So. 2d 303 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2006)
The purchaser of non-conforming goods retains the option to claim either the difference in value or cancel the deal and recover the amount he paid in return for the item. Fla. Stat. §§ 672.711, 672.714 (2005). This principle is based on the common sense idea that the purchaser is entitled to receive what he wanted to buy and pay for and that the seller is not free to supply any non-conforming item she wishes, so long as the deviant goods are worth just as much. Fla. Stat. §§ 672.106(2), 672.601, 672.608 (2005).
The plaintiff purchased a piano from the defendant which was represented to be in new condition but was delivered with unacceptable damage. In a trial against the defendant, the judge ruled in favor of the plaintiff, and asked for the return of the purchase price from the defendant to the plaintiff. However, a successor judge, who was called upon to determine the amount of attorneys' fees and costs due to the plaintiff, vacated the decision of his predecessor and ruled that plaintiff had sustained no recoverable damages. According to the successor judge, even in its defective condition, the piano in question was worth as much or more than plaintiff actually paid; and thus, no actionable damages had been sustained for breach of the contract for purchase and sale. Plaintiff appealed from the successor judge’s judgment.
Did the plaintiff sustain actionable damages for breach of the contract for purchase and sale, notwithstanding the fact that the damaged piano was worth as much or more than the plaintiff actually paid?
Reversing, the Court of Appeal held that the judgment on review was erroneous as a matter of law. According to the Court, under the Florida Code, a purchaser of non-conforming goods, like the piano in the instant action, retained the option to claim either the difference in value, or cancel the deal and recover the amount he paid in return for the item. The Court noted that this principle was based on the common sense idea that the purchaser was entitled to receive what he wanted to buy and pay for and that the seller was not free to supply any non-conforming item she wished, so long as the deviant goods were worth just as much. Accordingly, the judgment of the successor judge was reversed.
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