Rule 1: Where a party makes no factual showing in opposition to a motion for summary judgment, a court must grant summary judgment to a moving party if, under the facts presented, the latter is entitled to summary judgment as matter of law.
Rule 2: An exculpatory clause will never be construed to exempt a party from liability for his own negligence in the absence of explicit language clearly indicating that such was the intent of the parties.
Rule 3: Where work is accepted with knowledge that it has not been done according to a contract or under such circumstances that knowledge of its imperfect performance may be imputed an acceptance will generally be deemed a waiver of a defective performance. But this rule does not apply to latent defects.
Appellant company sought to recover damages it sustained as a result of a fire that occurred when a flexible metal hose ruptured and sprayed heated fuel oil across the surface of a steam generating boiler at appellant’s power generating plant. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of appellee manufacturer in a cause of action alleging breach of implied warranties of fitness and merchantability and negligent design and manufacture; and in favor of appellee installer in an action alleging negligent installation and breach of warranty of workmanship. On appeal, appellant sought review of the grant of summary judgment for appellees. The state court of appeals affirmed summary judgment in part and reversed in part, and remanded the case for further proceedings.
Issue 1: Was the circuit court correct in granting appellee manufacturer’s motion for summary judgment on a cause of action alleging breach of implied warranties of fitness and merchantability?
Issue 2: Was the circuit court correct in granting appellee manufacturer’s motion for summary judgment on a cause of action based on negligent design and manufacture?
Issue 3: Was the circuit court correct in granting appellee installer’s motion for summary judgment on a cause of action alleging negligent installation and breach of warranty of workmanship?
Answer 1: Yes.; Answer 2: No; Answer 3: No.
Conclusion 1: Appellee manufacturer was entitled to summary judgment as to warranties where no issue of fact existed as to whether implied warranties were excluded when circumstances of transaction sufficiently warned appellant of exclusion. Thus, summary judgment for appellee was affirmed.
Conclusion 2: Exculpatory clause entitled appellee manufacturer to summary judgment as to negligent manufacture, but not negligent design, where language only explicitly excluded negligent manufacture claims.
Conclusion 3: Appellee installer was not entitled to judgment as to negligent installation when issues of fact existed as to whether it was responsible for determining specifications of installation and as to existence of latent defects.