Winchester v. McCulloch Brothers Garage, Inc.

388 So. 2d 927, 30 U.C.C. Rep. 212 (1980)

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Winchester v. McCulloch Brothers Garage, Inc.

Alabama Supreme Court
388 So. 2d 927, 30 U.C.C. Rep. 212 (1980)

Facts

James Winchester (plaintiff) owned a new Chevrolet vehicle with a purchase price of $7,740. Winchester traded his vehicle plus $485 representing the difference in the vehicles’ purchase-prices with McCulloch Brothers Garage, Inc. (McCulloch Brothers) for a new Jeep truck with a purchase price of $8,225. The warranty given as to the Jeep expressly limited Winchester’s remedy to repair or replacement of defective parts and disclaimed liability for incidental and consequential damages. Winchester used the Jeep to travel to and from work each day. After about a month, while driving the Jeep, the driveshaft came out of the Jeep, which caused the Jeep to veer off the road into a ditch. As the Jeep was removed from the ditch, Winchester noticed a problem with the rear-leaf spring on the driver’s side. McCulloch Brothers learned of the incident but refused to fix the Jeep. Two days later, after borrowing a vehicle for two days, Winchester purchased another vehicle for $2,556 so he could travel to and from work. Winchester sued the McCulloch Brothers, AMC, American Motors Sales Corporation, and Jeep Corp. (defendants), for breach of warranty. Evidence introduced at trial, which occurred 435 days after the incident, established that it would have cost Winchester $15 per day to rent a car, which totaled to $6,525. Winchester paid $1,000 for an expert to testify that the rear-leaf spring was defective. Testimony revealed the estimated cost to repair the Jeep to be around $1,200. The jury awarded Winchester $20,000 in damages. The trial court found the jury’s award to be improper and ordered a new trial unless Winchester agreed to remittitur of the damages to $4,900.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Torbert, C.J)

Dissent (Faulkner, J.)

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