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Schmitz-Werke GmbH Co. v. Rockland Industries, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
2002 WL 1357095 (4th Cir. 2002)


Facts

Rockland Industries (Rockland) (defendant) was a Maryland corporation that manufactured a type of drapery known as Trevira Blackout (Trevira). German company Schmitz Werke (Schmitz) (plaintiff) made and sold decorative fabrics. A Rockland salesperson showed the Trevira to Schmitz, explaining that the drapery was a particularly good base for transfer printing. Schmitz ordered 200 meters of the Trevira and shipped it to PMD, Schmitz’s transfer printer, for testing. Some of the test results were poor, but Schmitz was mostly content and placed another order. Upon printing, Schmitz found further problems with the fabric. After a third order and continued problems, Schmitz attempted to return 8,000 meters of the Trevira. After negotiations failed, Schmitz brought suit against Rockland, claiming that by supplying defective drapery, Rockland had breached warranties guaranteed by the United Nations Convention on the International Sale of Goods (CISG), to which the United States and Germany were parties. The district court found in Schmitz’s favor, concluding that Rockland had warranted that the fabric would be fit for the particular purpose of transfer printing, and that based on Schmitz’s evidence, the drapery did not satisfy the warranty. The district court held that in order to show that the Trevira was unsuitable for transfer printing, Schmitz did not have to prove the exact manner in which the fabric was defective through expert testimony, but only needed to demonstrate that PMD’s printing process was ordinary and competent. The district court further found that Schmitz had relied on assertions made by Rockland’s representative that the Trevira was appropriate for transfer printing. Rockland appealed.

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Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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