A Hot Freezer

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Q: Three weeks ago, I bought a new refrigerator.  Yesterday, a fire broke out in my kitchen.  The Fire Department prepared a report.  It said the origin was ‘refrigerator/freezer’.  Says the report, “High concentration of charring and damage in and around the freezer unit.”

I think the defrost timer went wrong.  The coils got hot.  They melted the insulation.  Does the jury have to agree that the defrost timer was bad, or does it just have to decide that the source was the freezer?

A: Even though you may want to prove a defect in the defrost timer, there is also evidence that the fire originated in the refrigerator/freezer in general.  A jury can rationally conclude that this appliance was not fit for its intended purpose, regardless of whether the defrost timer was defective.  Thus, the manufacturer breached its ‘implied warranty of merchantability’.

For a breach of warranty of merchantability claim, to support a verdict, the jury need only find that the product was not fit for the ordinary purposes for which such goods are used.  Such a verdict is acceptable solely on circumstantial evidence.  If the evidence of a specific flaw falls short, then a product defect can be proved by circumstantial evidence.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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