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Transcontinental Refrigeration Co. v. Figgins

Supreme Court of Montana
585 P.2d 1301 (1978)


Everett Figgins (plaintiff) purchased two refrigerated display cases from Transcontinental Refrigerator Company (Transcontinental) (defendant) to store various cuts of fresh meat in his grocery store. The refrigerators that Figgins ordered used a gravity-coil system without air circulation. Transcontinental later informed Figgins that those units were unavailable and instead provided two coolers that used a cooling system with air circulation. Transcontinental assured Figgins that the coolers would be suitable for Figgins’s purposes. The coolers were installed on September 7, 1975. Figgins immediately discovered that the displayed meat dehydrated unusually quickly. Figgins’s attorney sent Transcontinental a letter on October 6, 1975, stating that the display cases were not suitable for Figgins’s purposes and that Figgins had ordered replacement cases from another supplier. Figgins later testified that he did not actually order new display cases until November 1, 1975. On October 10, 1975, condensation pans were installed at the suggestion of the coolers’ manufacturer, but the problem continued. Transcontinental never sent a representative to examine the display cases. Figgins replaced the coolers on November 15, 1975 and sent a notice of cancellation and rescission to Transcontinental on November 17, 1975. Transcontinental sued Figgins for breach of contract. Figgins counterclaimed for rescission and damages. At trial, Figgins’s expert witness testified that forced air refrigeration was unsuitable for storing fresh meat due to the resulting evaporation. The district court found that the display cases were not fit for the purposes for which they were purchased. The district court denied Transcontinental’s claim and entered judgment in favor of Figgins, rescinding the contract and awarding damages. Transcontinental appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Haswell, C.J.)

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