Law School Case Brief
Singer Co. v. E. I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co. - 579 F.2d 433 (8th Cir. 1978)
The question of buyer's reliance and seller's knowledge of that reliance is a factual inquiry particularly well-suited for jury deliberation. U.C.C. §§ 2-316, 2-317.
In this diversity contract action, plaintiff Singer (Singer) Company sued to recover losses incurred when defendant E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) allegedly breached both an express warranty and an implied warranty of fitness in failing to provide plaintiff with suitable industrial paint for its plant operations at Red Bud, Illinois. The case was submitted to a jury only on the implied warranty theory, and judgment was returned for Singer in the amount of $108,367.00. Defendant was awarded no recovery on either of its two attendant counterclaims. DuPont unsuccessfully moved for judgments notwithstanding the verdict and for new trial, contending that the trial court improperly instructed the jury and that there was insufficient evidence to support the jury verdicts. DuPont appeals from those rulings
Were the questions regarding Singer’s reliance and DuPont’s knowledge of that reliance a factual inquiry particularly well-suited for jury deliberation?
The Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment for Singer, holding that DuPont had breached the implied warranty of fitness by failing to provide Singer with suitable industrial paint. The court concluded that the contract was ambiguous and that DuPont failed to delineate and limit allocation of risk. The court held that the questions regarding Singer’s reliance and DuPont’s knowledge of that reliance were factual jury determination. The court found the evidence sufficient to establish that the paint, and not a significantly non-uniform substrate, was the cause of the contested blotches and streaks. As such, the trial court did not err in denying a judgment notwithstanding the verdict on DuPont’s counterclaim for paint sold and delivered or for services rendered.
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