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Johnson v. John Deere Co.

South Dakota Supreme Court
306 N.W.2d 231 (1981)


Facts

Walter Johnson (plaintiff) was a mechanic for four years before becoming a farmer. Ten years into his farming career, Johnson bought a new tractor from the John Deere Company (John Deere) (defendant) through Nelson Implement, Inc. (Nelson) (defendant). During the contract negotiations, Johnson paid attention to what warranties he was getting. Johnson then signed John Deere’s purchase-order form. On the front page of the form contract, John Deere disclaimed all express and implied warranties other than a single warranty listed on the back of the form. The one warranty was a new-tractor warranty that provided for repair or replacement of defective parts. The warranty also stated that John Deere would not be liable for any incidental or consequential damages. Soon after Johnson began using the tractor, all sorts of things started to go wrong with it. Johnson had to keep taking the tractor back for repairs, losing the use of it for months at a time. Ultimately, Johnson sued John Deere and Nelson for breach of warranty. Although the trial court characterized the tractor as a “lemon,” the court still ruled in favor of the defendants because the contract had disclaimed all warranties other than the repair-and-replacement warranty. Johnson appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Morgan, J.)

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