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Step-Saver Data Systems, Inc. v. Wyse Technology

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
752 F. Supp. 181 (1990)


Facts

Step-Saver Data Systems, Inc. (plaintiff) sold packaged computer systems for use in professional offices. Step-Saver wanted to expand its product capability by offering a multi-user computer system, so it negotiated with Wyse Technology (defendant) to purchase Wyse computer terminals and with The Software Link (TSL) (defendant) to purchase a multi-user program. Shortly after Wyse began selling and delivering the multi-user systems to its customers, it received complaints that the systems were not working correctly. Although TSL and Wyse promised to correct the issues, they failed to do so, and the systems continued to function improperly. Step-Saver brought an action against Wyse and TSL, alleging claims including breaches of the implied warranty of merchantability and the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. The matter proceeded to a jury trial. At trial, Wyse presented evidence that over 1,000,000 Wyse computer terminals had been sold since their introduction and that sales of the Wyse terminals exceeded all other terminals in its class. There was also evidence presented that Step-Saver put the Wyse terminals through a two-step testing program before deciding on the configuration of the systems. Additionally, the evidence demonstrated that Wyse terminals were compatible with hundreds of software programs used on the terminals, and there was no evidence presented that compatibility with the specific software selected by Step-Saver (including TSL's software) affected the general merchantability of Wyse terminals. The district court granted TSL's motion for a directed verdict in TSL's favor on the implied-warranty claim. The judge did not charge the jury with respect to Step-Saver's claim for breach of the implied warranty of merchantability, and the jury returned a verdict in Wyse's favor on the claim for breach of implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. Step-Saver filed a post-trial motion for a new trial alleging, among other things, error in the trial court's refusal to charge the jury regarding the implied-warranty-of-merchantability claim.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Broderick, J.)

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