Henningsen v. Bloomfield Motors, Inc.

Henningsen v. Bloomfield Motors, Inc.

Henningsen v. Bloomfield Motors
Court New Jersey Supreme Court
Full case name Claus H. Henningsen and Helen Henningsen v. Bloomfield Motors, Inc., and Chrysler Corporation
Decided May 9, 1960
Citation(s) 32 N.J. 358, 161 A.2d 69 (1960)
Case opinions
Majority: Francis (unanimous)
Court membership
Judge(s) sitting Chief Justice Weintraub, and Justices Burling, Jacobs, Francis, Proctor and Schettino

In Henningsen v. Bloomfield Motors, Inc., 32 N.J. 358, 161 A.2d 69 (N.J. 1960), the New Jersey Supreme Court held that an automobile manufacturer's attempt to use an express warranty that disclaimed an implied warranty of merchantability was invalid.

Contents

  • Facts 1
  • Procedure 2
  • Holding 3
  • Reasoning 4
  • Commentary 5
  • External links 6

Facts

On May 7, 1955, Mr. Claus H. Henningsen purchased a Plymouth automobile, manufactured by Chrysler Corporation, from Bloomfield Motors, Inc. The automobile was intended as a Mother's Day gift to his wife, Helen, and the purchase was executed solely by Mr. Henningsen.

The contract for sale was a one-page form and contained paragraphs in various type sizes on the front and back of the form. Mr. Henningsen testified he did not read all paragraphs of the contract. The back of the contract contained the following clause:

The manufacturer warrants each new motor vehicle (including original equipment placed thereon by the manufacturer except tires), chassis or parts manufactured by it to be free from defects in material or workmanship under normal use and service. Its obligation under this warranty being limited to making good at its factory any part or parts thereof which shall, within ninety (90) days after delivery of such vehicle To the original purchaser or before such vehicle has been driven 4,000 miles, whichever event shall first occur, be returned to it with transportation charges prepaid and which its examination shall disclose to its satisfaction to have been thus defective; This warranty being expressly in lieu of all other warranties expressed or implied, and all other obligations or liabilities on its part, and it neither assumes nor authorizes any other person to assume for it any other liability in connection with the sale of its vehicles.

The car was delivered on May 9, 1955. There were no problems with the car until May 19, 1955. On that day, Mrs. Henningsen was driving the car at 20-22 mi/h on a smooth two lane highway. Mrs. Henningsen then heard a loud noise, the steering wheel spun in her hands, and the car suddenly veered and collided with a wall. The car was damaged severely, and declared totaled by the Henningsens' insurance carrier.

The defendants refused to repair the car under warranty since they claimed the express warranty was limited only to repairing the defective parts and that it was not liable for damages caused by defective parts.

Procedure

Mr. and Mrs. Henningsen sued under a theory of negligence and a theory of warranty. The court felt the proof was not sufficient to make out a prima facie case of negligence and gave the case to the jury solely on the warranty theory. The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiffs, Mr. and Mrs. Henningsen, against both defendants. The appellate case was argued on December 7, 1959 and was decided on May 9, 1960.

Holding

Automobile purchasers may recover for damages caused by defective parts under an implied warranty of merchantability since automobile manufacturers and dealers may not limit this warranty to replacement of only defective parts as this violates fair dealing and public policy.

Reasoning

Automobiles were sold by the automobile manufacturer to the automobile dealer, who in turn sells them to consumers. Therefore, there is no privity between the automobile manufacturer and the consumer.require('Module:No globals')

local p = {}

-- articles in which traditional Chinese preceeds simplified Chinese local t1st = { ["228 Incident"] = true, ["Chinese calendar"] = true, ["Lippo Centre, Hong Kong"] = true, ["Republic of China"] = true, ["Republic of China at the 1924 Summer Olympics"] = true, ["Taiwan"] = true, ["Taiwan (island)"] = true, ["Taiwan Province"] = true, ["Wei Boyang"] = true, }

-- the labels for each part local labels = { ["c"] = "Chinese", ["s"] = "simplified Chinese", ["t"] = "traditional Chinese", ["p"] = "pinyin", ["tp"] = "Tongyong Pinyin", ["w"] = "Wade–Giles", ["j"] = "Jyutping", ["cy"] = "Cantonese Yale", ["poj"] = "Pe̍h-ōe-jī", ["zhu"] = "Zhuyin Fuhao", ["l"] = "literally", }

-- article titles for wikilinks for each part local wlinks = { ["c"] = "Chinese language", ["s"] = "simplified Chinese characters", ["t"] = "traditional Chinese characters", ["p"] = "pinyin", ["tp"] = "Tongyong Pinyin", ["w"] = "Wade–Giles", ["j"] = "Jyutping", ["cy"] = "Yale romanization of Cantonese", ["poj"] = "Pe̍h-ōe-jī", ["zhu"] = "Bopomofo", }

-- for those parts which are to be treated as languages their ISO code local ISOlang = { ["c"] = "zh", ["t"] = "zh-Hant", ["s"] = "zh-Hans", ["p"] = "zh-Latn-pinyin", ["tp"] = "zh-Latn", ["w"] = "zh-Latn-wadegile", ["j"] = "yue-jyutping", ["cy"] = "yue", ["poj"] = "hak", ["zhu"] = "zh-Bopo", }

local italic = { ["p"] = true, ["tp"] = true, ["w"] = true, ["j"] = true, ["cy"] = true, ["poj"] = true, } -- Categories for different kinds of Chinese text local cats = { ["c"] = "", ["s"] = "", ["t"] = "", }

function p.Zh(frame) -- load arguments module to simplify handling of args local getArgs = require('Module:Arguments').getArgs local args = getArgs(frame) return p._Zh(args) end function p._Zh(args) local uselinks = not (args["links"] == "no") -- whether to add links local uselabels = not (args["labels"] == "no") -- whether to have labels local capfirst = args["scase"] ~= nil

        local t1 = false -- whether traditional Chinese characters go first
        local j1 = false -- whether Cantonese Romanisations go first
        local testChar
        if (args["first"]) then
                 for testChar in mw.ustring.gmatch(args["first"], "%a+") do
          if (testChar == "t") then
           t1 = true
           end
          if (testChar == "j") then
           j1 = true
           end
         end
        end
        if (t1 == false) then
         local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle()
         t1 = t1st[title.text] == true
        end

-- based on setting/preference specify order local orderlist = {"c", "s", "t", "p", "tp", "w", "j", "cy", "poj", "zhu", "l"} if (t1) then orderlist[2] = "t" orderlist[3] = "s" end if (j1) then orderlist[4] = "j" orderlist[5] = "cy" orderlist[6] = "p" orderlist[7] = "tp" orderlist[8] = "w" end -- rename rules. Rules to change parameters and labels based on other parameters if args["hp"] then -- hp an alias for p ([hanyu] pinyin) args["p"] = args["hp"] end if args["tp"] then -- if also Tongyu pinyin use full name for Hanyu pinyin labels["p"] = "Hanyu Pinyin" end if (args["s"] and args["s"] == args["t"]) then -- Treat simplified + traditional as Chinese if they're the same args["c"] = args["s"] args["s"] = nil args["t"] = nil elseif (not (args["s"] and args["t"])) then -- use short label if only one of simplified and traditional labels["s"] = labels["c"] labels["t"] = labels["c"] end local body = "" -- the output string local params -- for creating HTML spans local label -- the label, i.e. the bit preceeding the supplied text local val -- the supplied text -- go through all possible fields in loop, adding them to the output for i, part in ipairs(orderlist) do if (args[part]) then -- build label label = "" if (uselabels) then label = labels[part] if (capfirst) then label = mw.language.getContentLanguage():ucfirst( While a majority of courts, at this time, hold privity is required for the manufacturer to be liable to the consumer, there is a trend towards eliminating privity as a requirement. It is unjust for the manufacturer to benefit from advertising their product as suitable as a car and profit from this representation, while providing a basic implied warranty that what they are providing matches what they represent they are providing. Therefore, an implied warranty accompanies every car the manufacturer puts into the stream of trade.

The express warranty signed by Mr. Henningsen will apply under contract law even if he did not read all of it. The warranty agreement, which is a standard used by all major automobile manufacturers, seems to disguise the limitations of the warranty coverage. The jury verdict at trial established this disclaimer was not fairly obtained, and, therefore, the disclaimer will not apply to the situation at hand. Therefore, damages under implied warranty will stand.

Further, the contract is one of adhesion and Mr. Henningsen had no chance to bargain on its terms. The defendants took advantage of their relative bargaining power to force unfair disclaimers upon the customer, and since this disclaimer of any warranty except one for replacement of defective parts violates public policy.

Commentary

Some law and economics scholars have criticized this result as it will ultimately raise prices as automobile manufacturers and dealers have to pay for implied warranty costs. This results in an economically inefficient transaction since not all consumers wanted this warranty, but now all consumers are forced to pay for it.require('Module:No globals')

local p = {}

-- articles in which traditional Chinese preceeds simplified Chinese local t1st = { ["228 Incident"] = true, ["Chinese calendar"] = true, ["Lippo Centre, Hong Kong"] = true, ["Republic of China"] = true, ["Republic of China at the 1924 Summer Olympics"] = true, ["Taiwan"] = true, ["Taiwan (island)"] = true, ["Taiwan Province"] = true, ["Wei Boyang"] = true, }

-- the labels for each part local labels = { ["c"] = "Chinese", ["s"] = "simplified Chinese", ["t"] = "traditional Chinese", ["p"] = "pinyin", ["tp"] = "Tongyong Pinyin", ["w"] = "Wade–Giles", ["j"] = "Jyutping", ["cy"] = "Cantonese Yale", ["poj"] = "Pe̍h-ōe-jī", ["zhu"] = "Zhuyin Fuhao", ["l"] = "literally", }

-- article titles for wikilinks for each part local wlinks = { ["c"] = "Chinese language", ["s"] = "simplified Chinese characters", ["t"] = "traditional Chinese characters", ["p"] = "pinyin", ["tp"] = "Tongyong Pinyin", ["w"] = "Wade–Giles", ["j"] = "Jyutping", ["cy"] = "Yale romanization of Cantonese", ["poj"] = "Pe̍h-ōe-jī", ["zhu"] = "Bopomofo", }

-- for those parts which are to be treated as languages their ISO code local ISOlang = { ["c"] = "zh", ["t"] = "zh-Hant", ["s"] = "zh-Hans", ["p"] = "zh-Latn-pinyin", ["tp"] = "zh-Latn", ["w"] = "zh-Latn-wadegile", ["j"] = "yue-jyutping", ["cy"] = "yue", ["poj"] = "hak", ["zhu"] = "zh-Bopo", }

local italic = { ["p"] = true, ["tp"] = true, ["w"] = true, ["j"] = true, ["cy"] = true, ["poj"] = true, } -- Categories for different kinds of Chinese text local cats = { ["c"] = "", ["s"] = "", ["t"] = "", }

function p.Zh(frame) -- load arguments module to simplify handling of args local getArgs = require('Module:Arguments').getArgs local args = getArgs(frame) return p._Zh(args) end function p._Zh(args) local uselinks = not (args["links"] == "no") -- whether to add links local uselabels = not (args["labels"] == "no") -- whether to have labels local capfirst = args["scase"] ~= nil

        local t1 = false -- whether traditional Chinese characters go first
        local j1 = false -- whether Cantonese Romanisations go first
        local testChar
        if (args["first"]) then
                 for testChar in mw.ustring.gmatch(args["first"], "%a+") do
          if (testChar == "t") then
           t1 = true
           end
          if (testChar == "j") then
           j1 = true
           end
         end
        end
        if (t1 == false) then
         local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle()
         t1 = t1st[title.text] == true
        end

-- based on setting/preference specify order local orderlist = {"c", "s", "t", "p", "tp", "w", "j", "cy", "poj", "zhu", "l"} if (t1) then orderlist[2] = "t" orderlist[3] = "s" end if (j1) then orderlist[4] = "j" orderlist[5] = "cy" orderlist[6] = "p" orderlist[7] = "tp" orderlist[8] = "w" end -- rename rules. Rules to change parameters and labels based on other parameters if args["hp"] then -- hp an alias for p ([hanyu] pinyin) args["p"] = args["hp"] end if args["tp"] then -- if also Tongyu pinyin use full name for Hanyu pinyin labels["p"] = "Hanyu Pinyin" end if (args["s"] and args["s"] == args["t"]) then -- Treat simplified + traditional as Chinese if they're the same args["c"] = args["s"] args["s"] = nil args["t"] = nil elseif (not (args["s"] and args["t"])) then -- use short label if only one of simplified and traditional labels["s"] = labels["c"] labels["t"] = labels["c"] end local body = "" -- the output string local params -- for creating HTML spans local label -- the label, i.e. the bit preceeding the supplied text local val -- the supplied text -- go through all possible fields in loop, adding them to the output for i, part in ipairs(orderlist) do if (args[part]) then -- build label label = "" if (uselabels) then label = labels[part] if (capfirst) then label = mw.language.getContentLanguage():ucfirst(

New Jersey courts, attorneys and scholars frequently cite Henningsen as the landmark case that established strict liability for defective products in the United States. However, the majority of US courts, attorneys, and law professors usually cite Escola v. Coca-Cola Bottling Co. and the Supreme Court of California as the source of the doctrine.

External links

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