Cook v. Downing

1994 OK CIV APP 178, 891 P.2d 611



Okla. Stat. tit. 12A, § 2-104(1) (1991) defines merchant as a person who deals in the goods of the kind or otherwise by his occupation holds himself out as having knowledge or skill peculiar to the practices or goods involved in the transaction or to whom such knowledge or skill may be attributed by his employment of an agent or broker or other intermediary who by his occupation holds himself out as having such knowledge or skill. Okla. Stat. tit. 12A, § 2-105(1) defines goods as meaning all things (including specially manufactured goods) which are movable at the time of identification to the contract for sale other than the money in which the price is to be paid, investment securities (Article 8) and things in action. "Goods" also includes the unborn young of animals and growing crops and other identified things attached to realty.


A patient sued her dentist for mouth problems allegedly caused by the ill-fitting dentures made by the latter. She complained of localized sore spots which the dentist claimed were generalized and not consistent with localized sore spots, which would have resulted from ill-fitting dentures. The dentist argued that any claim the patient might have had sounded in tort. The trial court ruled for the patient based on a breach of an implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose which is common to merchants.


Is a dentist a merchant which would make him liable for breach of an implied warranty of fitness for the dentures he prepares?




The court agreed, holding that the trial court erred in entering judgment in favor of the patient based on the UCC. In Oklahoma, a dentist was not a merchant and dentures, furnished by the dentist, were not goods under the UCC.The fact that the dentist held himself out as specializing in the preparing and fitting of dentures did not remove him from the practice of dentistry and transform him into a merchant. The court ruled that those who, for a fee, furnished their professional medical services for the guidance and assistance of others were not liable in the absence of negligence or intentional misconduct. In general, dentists were required to use ordinary skill in treating their patients. The patient did not establish the elements of legal detriment by only showing nonsuccess or unsatisfactory results.

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