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Bell Sports, Inc. v Yarusso: Implied and Express Warranties

[Bell Sports, Inc. v Yarusso~ 759 A.2d 582 (Del. 2000)]

NOTE: THIS IS A Implied and Express Warranties NOT product liability case

In 1991, Brian Yarusso catapulted over the handlebars on his off-road motorcycle while traveling over a series of dirt moguls at a dirt motocross track in Newark, Delaware. He landed on his head, flipped over, and came to rest face down in the dirt. As a result of the accident, Yarusso was rendered a quadriplegic. Yarusso was wearing a full complement of safety equipment, including a Bell Moto-S helmet, a full-face motocross helmet that was designed for off-road use. The Ben Moto-5 helmet complied with the U.S. Department of Transportation standards and was also certified by the Snell Foundation, a leading worldwide helmet research and testing laboratory. The owner's manual for the helmet included the following:

Five Year Limited Warranty:
Any Bell helmet found by the factory to be defective in materials or workmanship within. five years from the date of purchase will be repaired or replaced at the option of the manufacturer. . . . This warranty is expressly in lieu of all other war¬ranties, and any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose created hereby, are limited in duration to the same duration of the express warranty herein. Ben shall not be liable for any inci¬dental or consequential damages....

Introduction:
Your new Moto-S helmet is another in the long line of innovative off-road. helmets from Bell. ... [The primary function of a helmet is to reduce the harmful effects of a blow to the head. However, it is important to recognize that the wearing of a helmet is not an assurance of absolute protection. NO HELMET CAN PROTECT THE WEARER AGAINST AIL FORESEEABLE IMPACTS.

Yarusso filed suit against Bell. He testified at trial that he had purchased the helmet based on Ben's assertion that the helmet's primary function was to reduce the harmful effects of a blow to the head.

Questions:
1. On what grounds could Yarusso sue Bell?
2. What will Bell argue in its defense?
3. Who will prevail? [
4. What do you think about how the court ruled?

Solution Preview

Hi,

Interesting case! Let's take a closer look at the four questions. I also attached one informative resource.

RESPONSE:

Yarusso filed suit against Bell. He testified at trial that he had purchased the helmet based on Ben's assertion that the helmet's primary function was to reduce the harmful effects of a blow to the head.

Questions:

1. On what grounds could Yarusso sue Bell?

He could sue Bell on theories of breach of express and implied warranties, as well as negligence. His assertion that the helmet's primary function was to reduce the harmful effects of a blow to the head speaks specifically to the quality of the product (not negligence). It is based on the assumption that the injury occurred due to the faulty design of the helmet at the time of sale. Yarusso's lawyer would need to find experts to testify that the helmet was in some way defected at he time of sale in order for the court to rule in his favor. Negligence would mean that the manufacturer's faulty design caused the injury.

See attached resource explaining express and implied warranties in some detail.

2. What will Bell argue in its defense?

Bell would probably argue that it was not negligent as the helmet met the minimal quality standards as required by U.C.C , and the helmet was inspected and certified.

In its defense for the breach of warrant of merchantability, Bell might ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses an implied and express warranty case, including the grounds that Yarusso could sue Bell, what Bell would argue in its defense, who will prevail and an analysis of the court ruling. Supplemented with a highly informative article on implied and express warranties under the UCC.

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