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Crews v. W.A. Brown & Son, Inc.

North Carolina Court of Appeals
416 S.E.2d 924 (1992)


Calvary Baptist Church (Calvary) (defendant) purchased a walk-in freezer from Foodcraft (defendant). Foodcraft purchased the parts for the freezer from the freezer’s manufacturer, W.A. Brown & Son, Inc. (Brown) (defendant). Foodcraft then assembled the walk-in freezer on-site at Calvary. The freezer’s door came pre-assembled with inside and outside releases. After assembly, Foodcraft tested the door latch and found that it worked properly. Several months later, Vickie Crews (Crews) (plaintiff) was volunteering at Calvary. Crews thought she heard a noise coming from the freezer, and she walked inside. The door closed behind her. Crews tried to open the freezer door using the inside release, but she could not trigger the latch. More than an hour passed before Crews was discovered in the freezer. She had suffered severe frostbite to her extremities, requiring the amputation of nine toes and several skin grafts. Crews sued Brown, Foodcraft, and Calvary. An expert witness opined that improper assembly of the freezer’s seal or latch had caused frost to accumulate on the door’s latch, preventing the latch from working correctly. Among other things, Crews alleged that Foodcraft breached the implied warranties of merchantability by selling and installing the freezer. Foodcraft filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that Crews could not sue Foodcraft for these alleged breaches because Crews lacked contractual privity with Foodcraft. The trial court granted Foodcraft’s motion. Crews appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Greene, J.)

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