Hodges v. Johnson

199 P.3d 1251 (2009)

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Hodges v. Johnson

Kansas Supreme Court
199 P.3d 1251 (2009)

  • Written by Tammy Boggs, JD

Facts

Jim Johnson (defendant) operated a car dealership that sold high-end, used cars. In January 2005, Johnson sold Dr. Merle Hodges and his wife (plaintiffs) a 1995 Mercedes S320 with about 135,000 miles on it for $17,020. Johnson had driven the car for two years before the sale. Unknown to the Hodgeses, Johnson had experienced a problem with the car’s air conditioner in May 2003 and, as a fix, had asked a mechanic to use a special sealant. Johnson may have also added some Freon to the unit at that time. In selling the car to the Hodgeses, Johnson said that the Mercedes was nice, in good condition, and “pretty much a perfect car.” About a month after buying the car, Hodges noticed that cool air was not circulating and there was a strange smell coming out of the vents. Hodges’s mechanic added Freon twice over the next two months, but the air conditioner continued to fail. In May 2005, the air conditioner failed a third time, and the mechanic stated that major replacements were needed at a cost of $3,000 to $4,000. Additionally, the Hodgeses learned that the sealant Johnson had applied in 2003 complicated the current repairs. Johnson refused to pay for the repairs, and the Hodgeses sued Johnson. The trial court found that Johnson breached the implied warranty of merchantability and entered judgment in the Hodgeses’ favor. The court of appeals reversed, holding as a matter of law that the implied warranty on a used car did not extend to the air-conditioning unit, which was not a major component necessary for operating the vehicle. The Kansas Supreme Court reviewed the matter.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Davis, J.)

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