Where a products liability action is brought against the seller for breach of either express or implied warranty, the privity barrier has been removed legislatively to the same extent as it has been removed in actions against manufacturers for breach of express warranty. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 25-2-318. Accordingly, assuming the existence of express and implied warranties, § 25-2-318 extends those warranties beyond the buyer but only to natural persons suffering personal injury who are in the buyer's family or household or who are guests in the buyer's home and only if it is reasonable to expect such persons may use, consume, or be affected by the goods. The statute does not extend warranty coverage to persons beyond those specifically enumerated.
Plaintiffs, juvenile and juvenile's mother, sued defendant corporation because of injuries sustained by juvenile when she was locked in a church freezer sold by defendant corporation. Plaintiffs alleged that defendant was negligent in assembling, installing, and inspecting the freezer and that defendant's express and implied warranties extended to members of the church. The trial court granted defendant's motion for summary judgment. On appeal, the court affirmed.
Does a defendant's alleged express and implied warranties extend to members of a church who suffer personal injury while on church property?
Plaintiffs failed to rebut evidence that defendant's employees inspected the freezer and door latch assembly and concluded that it worked properly. Accordingly, plaintiffs failed to show that defendant breached its duty of care. The court held that the express and implied warranties did not extend to plaintiffs, since plaintiffs were not in the buyer's family, household, or home at the time of the injury, as required under the warranties.