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Hunt v. Perkins Machinery Co., Inc.

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
226 N.E.2d 228 (1967)


Facts

Hunt (plaintiff), a fisherman, sought to purchase a diesel engine for his fishing boat. Rideout, a sales manager for Perkins Machinery Co., Inc. (Perkins) (defendant), visited Hunt to show him different diesel engines manufactured by Caterpillar Tractor Company (Caterpillar). In January 1961, Hunt purchased a Caterpillar engine and signed a purchase order. The purchase order was part of a notepad to which several copies of purchase orders were attached. The face of the purchase order stated in bold-face capital letters that the purchase was subject to the “TERMS AND CONDITIONS” stated in the purchase order. At the top of the reverse side of the purchase order, the words “TERMS AND CONDITIONS” were stated in bold-face capital letters. Under these words were 11 paragraphs, one of which disclaimed all warranties, including warranties as to merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. Rideout retained the purchase order and later mailed Hunt a fully executed copy. Hunt did not have an opportunity to read the reverse side of the order prior to receiving it in the mail. When Hunt subsequently used the boat, heavy black smoke was emitted from the engine. Perkins attempted to repair the engine on 10 different occasions, but was unable to correct the defect. Hunt sued Perkins based on an alleged breach of the implied warranty of merchantability and the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. Perkins moved for a directed verdict on both counts based on the disclaimer of warranties. The trial judge denied the motions, and Perkins appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Cutter, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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